Here’s what you need to know about the AMS’s $4.7 million 2021/22 budget

The AMS is projected to earn $3.9 million in revenue, spend $4.7 million and run a deficit of nearly $785,000 in the 2021/22 fiscal year.

Much of the revenue will be generated from AMS membership fees, investment income and business contributions. Funding for operating expenses and student services made up a significant portion of the spending.

Here’s a breakdown of this year’s budget.

Where is the $3.9 million in revenue coming from?

The AMS budget predicts a total revenue of $3.9 million. This is based on an assumed $500,000 investment contribution and UBC’s return to campus plan. The AMS has projected an enrolment of 55,000 students and anticipates that both the Pit and the annual AMS Block Party will make a comeback this year.

“[W]e predicted that [AMS] businesses would have … more revenue coming in as compared to the previous year in which most students were off-campus and there weren’t that many activities on UBC campus,” said AMS VP Finance Mary Gan.

To cover the $785,000 deficit, the AMS is cutting costs in salaries and wages by continuing to reduce or delay hiring. Wages make up a significant portion of many portfolios.

While the AMS has $3.9 million in revenue that it can allocate to what it chooses, the society is actually bringing in much more.

The total revenues from fees and funds make up $26 million of the AMS’s anticipated earnings, with the largest portion — $11 million or nearly 45 per cent — coming from the health and dental fee, which allows students access to extended health care coverage. The SUB renewal fee, costing $100 per student, results in $5.5 million. The $39.32 AMS membership fee, as well as constituency fees, comprise approximately $2.3 million each.

$23.7 million of the $26 million in revenue from fees will go to mandatory funds and services, leaving the AMS with $3.4 million in discretionary income from those fees. The health and dental reserve fund will consist of the bulk of this non-discretionary spending at $11 million. The SUB renewal fund — totalling $5.5 million or over 20 per cent — $2.3 million in undergraduate constituency fees, and $1.2 million for the intramurals and athletics reserve fund also make up a large portion of these expenses.

How is student money being spent?

The AMS’s anticipated expenditures for the 2021/22 fiscal year amount to $4.7 million.

$1.1 million will be allocated to student services. Compared to the preliminary budget drafted in April, support for the services grew by about $50,000. This can be attributed to greater funding to the Sexual Assault Support Centre (SASC), AMS Food Bank and Peer Support. Funding for student services has increased by 20 per cent since last year's budget. This is a 40 per cent increase from the actual spending in 2020/2021.

“[W]e’re always trying to make sure that student services are getting the amount of funding that they need for all of their activities in all their departments … because it is something that directly goes back to the students,” said Gan.

According to Gan, the amount reserved for AMS events in the preliminary budget increased from $161,620 to $370,000 due to the higher likelihood of in-person events following loosening COVID-19 restrictions.

The events budget, however, is still 20 per cent less than pre-COVID-19 times because of “reduced programming” and the lack of a Welcome Back BBQ.

Gan anticipates that the AMS Block Party will still take place and has diverted 25 per cent of events funding for this purpose.

Over $725,000 will be reserved for student executive expenses. Council and committee spending is projected to drop by 50 per cent this year, which Gan attributed to eliminated salaries and wages.

$1.9 million or nearly 40 per cent of this year's expenditures will be devoted to running the AMS, including administration, human resources and information systems costs. The remaining $440,000 will go to secondary services, such as communications and design, policy advising and archives and research.

According to Gan, this year’s budget process was more “rigorous” due to the pandemic.

To streamline the budget, the team reviewed its past spending patterns and reduced funding to historically underspent areas. They even went down to the “nitty gritty” details like office supplies and photocopying because these small expenses add up, Gan said.

The AMS finance team adopted a “conservative” yet “realistic” outlook for this year’s budget, while also leaving space for executives to conduct their projects, ensure that the AMS is running smoothly and enable students to take advantage of the benefits they pay into from the AMS.

“[W]e didn’t want to go [and] automatically dive back into pre-COVID times, but we also wanted to stay positive and be realistic as [to] how our businesses would perform for the upcoming year,” Gan said.