Arts students: Where do your fees go?

UBC’s Arts Undergraduate Society (AUS) represents 12,500 students. This means that they collect $13 from all of those people — which equates to $162,500.

So where does this money go? How is it handled? Despite the significant fee, the majority of arts undergraduate students probably don’t know. With this article, The Ubyssey will provide a basic breakdown of the major allotments for fees along with a comparison of changes made to the budget after overspending on stARTup.

Where is the budget?

First thing's first, here’s a copy of the AUS’s budget. The budget is an open-access document for all students — you just need to ask.

Where does it come from?

The AUS’s budget comes primarily from yearly student fees, but they also have income from past budget surplus, and initiatives like their vending machines (an $8,000 revenue) and locker rentals (a $1,000 revenue).

Where does the money go?

Grants — $67,000

The AUS’s primary expenditure is grants, for which they have budgeted $67,000 for the coming year. Of this amount, $25,000 will go towards the faculty of arts to run different academic programs, $12,000 towards student conference grants and $30,000 towards departmental clubs.

StARTup — $35,000

StARTup — the equivalent to the arts' frosh — set the AUS back $35,000 this year. Initially, a ticket revenue equivalent to $50,000 was supposed to completely balance out stARTup costs. However, ticket revenue was only $19,070. This was compounded upon by higher-than-expected hotel costs, leading to the overall $35,000 expenditure.

“We didn’t expect to not sell out, because we’ve sold out in almost every year prior,” said AUS VP Finance Marina Tischenko.

Merchandise — $15,500

The AUS has budgeted a $15,000 expenditure for merchandise in the coming quarter, with $8,000 out of that going towards agenda printing costs. 

The Great Arts Send off — $13,000

The total expenditure here is set-off by $15,000 in ticket revenue. The majority of money spent will go towards hotel expenses (budgeted $25,000).

Council retreat — $10,000

Out of the $10,000, $5,000 go towards food and refreshments, $3,500 go towards venue rental and $1,500 go towards transportation.

Social events — $9,450

The budget for social events was cut nearly in half due to stARTup, decreasing from $18,000. The money budgeted here goes towards alcohol costs, decor, entertainment and license, food and refreshments, security and rental expenses, transportation, and $150 for miscellaneous expenses.

Limitless — $7,600

Limitless is a networking event hosted by the AUS. The additional $7,600 cost is incurred on top of $1,500 in ticket revenue. The majority of the money goes towards hotel expenses — $7,000 — the rest being divided amongst decor, entertainment and license ($1,000), alumni honorariums ($300), transportation ($300) and speaker costs ($300).

Academic development — $7,000

The majority of these funds — $4,000 — go towards tutoring.

The budget for academic development was cut by $1,000 due to the additional costs incurred by stARTup. Five hundred dollars were cut from student wellness and professional development respectively.

External relations (VP External)$6,800

The amount budged for external relations decreased after the mishap with stARTup, with $1,000 less being budgeted for philanthropy.

Arts Student Centre — $6,500

Out of the total sum, $5,500 is budgeted for special projects, with the other thousand distributed evenly between food and refreshments and merchandise.

The budget for the Arts Student Centre was decreased by $500 after stARTup went over-budget.

Council — $6,200

Council expenses can include election and referendum costs, executive phone bills, food and refreshment (which is free during council meetings), website management and special projects. Executive phone bills haven’t been listed as an expense since 2014/2015 — and the $160 were then too not claimed. Special projects have also not been listed as an expense since 2015/2016 and website management is zeroed out on the budget. The $6,200 budgeted this year goes towards food and refreshments ($5,000), election expenses ($800) and referendum costs ($400).

A screenshot of Council expenses listed on the budget.
A screenshot of Council expenses listed on the budget. screenshot vis AUS budget

Promotion and advertising — $5,000

This includes printing and photography, promotion and advertising, website management and special projects ($500).

Executive — $3,800

The majority of this money goes towards the executive retreat ($1,700) and special projects ($1,500).

Sports — $3,800

The budget for sports was hugely affected by stARTup, dropping from $7,300 to $3,800. 

This money goes towards council teams, non-council teams and events. Previously, $500 was also allocated towards merchandise, but it was cut.

Arts Week — $3,500

The budget for Arts Week was cut in half due to stARTup, decreasing from $8,800.

Humanities and Social Sciences Conference — $3,150

The majority of the budget — $2,000 — goes towards food and refreshments.

First-year committee —$1,000

The budget for the first-year committee was cut by $700 to make up for stARTup.

This article has been updated to clarify that executive phone bills were budgeted in 2014/2015, but not claimed, and have not been listed as a Council expense since 2014/2015. Council has also not budgeted money for special projects and website management in the coming year, and the categories are zeroed out on the budget. The Ubyssey regrets these errors.