Finance

Vehicle Reservations

All Student Orgnanizations looking to reserve a vehicle through the Physical Plant must use the form found here. Requests must be made atleast 3 business days prior to the event.

Questions?

Contact Finance Chair Addison Smith with any budget questions at financechair@calvin.edu

Form Descriptions

Reimbursement

When do I use it?

A reimbursement form is used any time a purchase is made in which you have already paid for an item.

Example:

Refreshments purchased for an event. In that case you have already paid for an item and are seeking reimbursement.

How long will it take for me to get reimbursed?

Approximately one to two weeks. If the reimbursement form is not filled out properly or the proper documents are not attached, the length of the reimbursement process may exceed two weeks.

How do I use it?

Make sure you include the following information:

  • Name of the person being reimbursed
  • Organization name to which the person belongs
  • Address where the reimbursement check should be sent
  • Purpose (what the items were used for)
  • Place (where the items were used)
  • People (the full names of the persons involved in the use of the items)
  • Signature of one of the officers of the student organization
  • MOST IMPORTANTLY: The actual receipt that lists the item(s) for which reimbursement is being sought. A copy of the receipt or a debit card receipt is no longer acceptable.

Once the form has been completed and the receipt is attached to the form, you can submit it by placing it in the mailbox marked "Completed Reimbursement Forms," located outside the Student Finance Chair's office, CA 101B.

Honoraria

When do I use it?

An honoraria form is used any time you want to give a ONE TIME monetary gift to someone who has done something for your organization. Often this person is an outside speaker, presenter or special helper. The honoraria process must be used for any gifts of $25.00 or more. Gift cards are not allowed to be given as honoraria.

How long will it take to get processed?

The honoraria form usually takes as long as the reimbursement form, typically one and a half to two weeks, at the most.

How do I use it?

Fill it out and make sure you include the following pieces of information:

  • Name of the person receiving the honoraria
  • The receivers address and SOCIAL SECURITY NUMBER (for tax purposes, yes, it does have to be reported as income for the receiver)
  • The service provided by the receiver
  • The name of the student organization issuing the honoraria (somewhere on the form)
  • Finally, if the check is to be picked up by someone and then given to the individual or if the check is to be sent directly the the receiver (or payee, in this case).

Voucher

When do I use it?

A voucher form is used anytime there is an invoice which requires payment after receipt or directly from the college. To know whether or not a voucher is required, an invoice is usually required for the use of a voucher.

How long will it take to get processed?

A voucher can take up to one month if there is not a "date due by", on the form. If there is a date, it will be processed one to two weeks at most, to be processed.

How do I use it?

If you have an invoice that needs to be paid, just bring it by the Student Development Office, fill out the voucher form, and the finance chair will take care of the rest. Make sure you sign the form.




Financial Policies & Procedures

Additional Funding

What is it?

Additional funding is a process designated to help student organizations whose budget has proven too small. This process helps those student organizations by granting them small increases in depleted line items in order that the student organization may continue to operate without significant constraint.

When is it?

Additional funding happens during the later few weeks of January and the first week of February.

What do I need to do?

Beginning in January, additional funding request forms will become available. You will be able to access those forms both online and in paper. Just complete the form and submit it like you would a reimbursement. Beginning in the first week of February, the finance committee will meet and review all additional funding requests. There is no appeal process for additional funding. The amount of funds the finance committee has available to grant as additional funding is entirely contingent upon the amount of funding cut from organization budgets by the 40% rule.

What are my chances of receiving additional funding?

Some of the criteria the finance committee typically looks at are:

  • Was any funding cut by the 40% rule?
  • How have they spent their funds thus far?
  • What is their reason for applying for addtional funding?
  • Is the request reasonable?

Audits

What are they?

Audits are a way for the Finance Chair as well as the Finance Committee to get an early picture of what student organization finances look like prior to the end of the semester. Doing audits early in the year, rather than at semester break, allows us to anticipate any problems prior to their occurrence. Audits also serve as a more intimate check on an organization's accountability and stewardship of its resources.

When are they?

Audits typically occur during the first few weeks of November, usually prior to Thanksgiving.

What do I need to do?

A member of the finance committee will contact you and ask you to set up a meeting with him or her. During that meeting the committee member will ask you various questions about your budget and your spending thus far.

First, make sure you communicate with the committee member who contacted you about dates and times to meet.

Second, bring any financial records you might have to the meeting, including, but not limited to, excel spreadsheets, monthly statements, etc.

Sample Questions:

  • Do you have any written financial records?
  • Are they updated regularly?
  • Do you have a rough spending plan for the year?
  • Do you anticipate overspending on any line items?
  • If so, how do you plan to compensate for that overspending?

Ad-Hoc Requests

Ad-Hoc requests consist of any requests not made during the spring budgeting process and come in three categories: Unexpected Capital Item Requests, Contingency Costs, and Special Requests. While we encourage orgs to plan ahead and try to predict expected capital improvements for the next year, there will undoubtedly be times throughout the year where unexpected costs are necessary. Thus, these unexpected costs would be requested using the ad-hoc request form. Additionally, orgs may incur expenses that don’t happen every year and therefore should not be budgeted for. We call these contingency costs. When contingency costs are incurred, funding for them should also be requested using an ad-hoc request. Finally, orgs may present ideas for special events or projects that will benefit the student body as a whole. These ideas require extra funds, which should also be requested for using an ad-hoc request.

Budgets / Budgeting

What is it?

The budgeting process is a formal process which requires a budget hearing set before the finance committee. During this time, each organization will present their proposed budget for the next year and answer questions the finance committee may have. The budgeting process can be strenuous for some, depending on how well they've managed the current years budget. Org budgets are be used for operational costs only, i.e., the costs that are necessary to operate the org. Any capital items that the org needs that will last for more than one year should be requested using the Capital Items Funding Request. Capital items are explained under the “Capital Items” section. Any costs that are not guaranteed to happen should not be budgeted for, but rather be requested as incurred by using an Ad-Hoc request. Ad-Hoc requests are explained under the “Ad-Hoc Requests” section.

When is it?

The budgeting process typically takes place the last few weeks of April.

What are the budget lines?

When creating your budget, consider using the following budget lines:

  • Campus Store - Things purchased at the Campus Store, such as office supplies.
  • Copy Center (Printing Services) - Charges for making copies or having things printed in printing services.
  • Dues and Memberships - Supplement for memberships or dues for an organization with a Calvin chapter.
  • Equipment - All purchases for equipment to help an organization carry out its purpose.
  • Honoraria - Charges for speakers or gifts for speakers.
  • Office Supplies - For office supplies purchased at off-campus locations.
  • Programming - Any expenses related to the programs of an organization with the exception of transportation and food.
  • Promotiona l - Expenses related to promoting or publicizing an organization with the exception of Printing Services (Use Copy Center line).
  • Refreshments - All food expenses.
  • Retreats - Charges relating to the costs of putting on a retreat such as, lodging, food, and/or transportation. If renting vehicles through Calvin, use Transportation line.
  • Revenue - All income coming into an organization for dues, income, etc.
  • Transportation - Charges for transportation according to the SSFC policy.

What do I need to do?

As the budgeting process draws closer, more information will be communicated to you about what needs to happen. However, the budgeting process and rechartering process go hand in hand. When you recharter your organization you are asked to hand in a proposed budget for next year. As a rule of thumb we ask that you try and limit any proposed budget increase to no more that 5% per line item per year. Once you have submitted your budget, you will be asked to sign up for a budget hearing time. When it is time for the budget hearings, you will come before the Finance Committee in a formal setting, where your current budget will be compared to your proposed budget. The hearing will last approximately ten to fifteen minutes. After your hearing, the Finance Committee will deliberate and render an appealable decision regarding your budget. You will then have the option of appealing the committee's decision and they will again review your proposal. After the appeal, the Finance Committee's decision is final and your budget will be finalized for the next year.

Can I shift funds between line items during the year?

Funds are not to be shifted between line items during the year. The reason budgets are used is to limit the amount of spending on different areas of your budget. Only in extremely cases will funds be moved from one line item to another. If you believe you have a case where funds should be shifted contact the Finance Chair. The time that funds can be shifted between line items takes place at the spring budget hearings, where you will have the opportunity to construct your budget for the next year in a way more fitting to your current spending habits.

Capital Items

Capital items are items purchased for the org that will benefit the org for more than one year. Examples include athletic equipment, computer equipment, video equipment, etc. Capital items are purchased by the College, considered College property, and remain with the College from year to year. Rather than budget for these items within an organization’s budget, org’s requiring capital items are instructed to request funding for them at the same time as the spring budget hearings. If capital item requests are approved, the org will receive funding to purchase these items. Should there be unexpected equipment costs incurred during the school year, an ad-hoc request should be submitted for extra funding.

Cash Advances

Cash advances for student organizations are generally not permitted. Only in extreme circumstances where there are significant expenditures requiring up-front payment will cash advances be granted. If you believe you have an expenditure that is in need of a cash advance contact the Finance Chair.

Conferences

Any organization is eligible to apply for funding to attend a conference, appropriate to that student organization. Student organizations can not budget specific line items for conferences. The finance chair, under the advisement of the finance committee, controls an account containing funds that are to be used for conferences.

Is there a form to fill out?

Yes! Conference Funding Request Form

Please fill out this form completely. The finance committee requires the following information to be submitted at least two weeks prior to the conference:

  • Number of Participants
  • Estimated Food Expenses
  • Date and Location
  • Estimated Reasonable Travel Expenses
  • Name and Purpose of Conference
  • A short explanation of how your attendance will benefit the Calvin community
  • Conference Fees
  • Estimated Reasonable Lodging Expenses

How much funding can I expect from the Finance Committee?

The funding approved by the finance committee usually varies on a case-by-case basis, but usually, if approved, the finance committee will fund approximately 40-60% of the conference expenses; however, the finance committee has the right to deny any conference request at any time and its decision can not be appealed regarding the status of the conference application or the amount of funding.

How long will I have to wait to know the status of my conference application?

The finance committee usually meets roughly once or twice a month, depending on the volume of activity. The finance chair can give you a rough estimate of the amount that may be approved; however, he or she can not promise what the decision of the finance committee may be. The finance committee will try to render a decision in as timely a manner as possible, usually within one to two weeks after the receipt of the conference information. Please submit all conference requests to the finance chair.

What happens after I receive approved conference funding?

Receiving conference funding means that you will receive up to the amount of funds approved by the Finance Committee from your request. However, the amount of funds ultimately reimbursed may vary depending on a couple criteria. First, conference funding is allotted in a per person amount. If the amount of people who attend the conference differs from the initial conference funding request, the total amount of conference funding will be less than the original amount. Second, if estimated costs decrease, or the conference plans change, the amount of funds given will be based on the new costs using the percentages originally allotted of the original estimates.

Be sure to keep all receipts when you attend your conference. After returning from your conference, seek reimbursement using the conference funding reimbursement form.

Deposits & Revenue

Any time money is received by an organization, either by cash or by check, it needs to be submitted to Financial Services. They will ask for your organization name and source of revenue. You will then be provided with a receipt of your deposit for your personal records.

Should your organization have a revenue line item, with a designated revenue amount, it is expected your organization will raise the required funds. All checks should be made payable to Calvin College.

Organizations that collect dues from their members must use the Calvin College Box Office for all revenue collection. Members of the organization will have the ability to pay for their dues with cash, credit card, check, or their miscellaneous account. In order to collect revenue through the Box Office, student organizations must contact the Finance Chair to set up an account with the Box Office. Organizations that collect dues cannot process the collection of dues from their members themselves by collecting cash or check, as traditionally done in the past. All dues in relation to 1st semester events must be turned in before the first event of the season. All dues in relation to 2nd semester events must be turned in before the first event of the 2nd semester.

Direct Account Charging

Each student organization has their own account numbers that are used by Financial Services to process reimbursements requests. In the past, organizations have been able to tell different departments across campus (Campus Store, Printing Services, etc.) this account number, charging purchases directly to the organization and therefore not requiring reimbursement. This feature will no longer be possible. The inability to limit the amounts organizations charge to their account often results in overspending. Instead of directly charging their account, students must purchase items themselves and then seek reimbursement using the normal reimbursement form.

Financial Reports

What are they?

Financial reports are compiled on a monthly basis, so each student organization is issued a monthly financial report summarizing spending up to that point in the year, as well as the appropriate amounts remaining in each line item. Quarterly reports are also issued to student senate. These reports are more broad in view and detail the financial state of organizations as a whole. Often times they include other information, such as the student senate booksale and other decisions of the finance committee, such as conference requests, etc. At the end of the year a comprehensive annual report is issued to the student senate. In this report, organizational financial activities are disclosed in full. This report includes any and all decisions rendered by the finance committee, as well as a summary by the finance chair of his or her determination of the state of student organizaiton finances. The annual report is usually issued in the form of a lenthy presenation to student senate. All student organizations are welcome to attend the presentation of the annual report.

When are they?

Financial reports are issued monthly. Quarterly reports are issued at the approximate end of each academic quarter. The annual report is issued at one of the final Student Senate meetings, usually the in the first few weeks of May.

Fundraising

If you are planning an on-campus or off-campus fundraising event of any kind, you must first gain permission from the Development Office. This applies even if your fundraising event takes place on campus. There are rules, both Calvin and federal, concerning anyone who gives to Calvin College. Please contact Development via email development@calvin.edu.

When the primary givers are from the on-campus community, you need to also go through the Student Development Office just like a normal event. You use the Events and Activities Form, making sure that you indicate the plan to raise funds and that you have received permission from Development. This kind of fundraiser might look like a service auction, bake sale, or benefit concert only advertised to on-campus folks, etc.

Please contact the Coordinator of Student Organizations and Weekend Programming, Paula Englin (penglin@calvin.edu) or Development (development@calvin.edu) for more information.

Record Keeping

Student organizations are encouraged to keep accurate records of all organization related spending. These records will be checked at the fall audits and throughout the year at various times. At the end of the year, student organizations receive a grade based on their performance during the year. One grading criteria is how well they kept financial records. To make the process of record keeping easier, the Finance Committee has produced a template excel spreadsheet that can be used the keep track of expenditures.

This template can be found here.

While the use of this template is not required, it is an approved method of record keeping that will result in a good grade at the end of the year.

Retreats

Retreats are to be budgeted as individual line items within a student organization's budget. A retreat shall be defined as a one day, or overnight excursion attended by a majority of the members of the student organization. Retreat expenses will be reimbursed by the same guidelines as other student reimbursements.

"Robinhood" Rule (40% cuts)

What is it?

As a way of ensuring effective stewardship of the resources granted to the finance committee, the 40% rule ensures that each student organization has spent at least 40% of each line item of their budget by the end of interim. Iif you fail to spend at least 40%, the finance committee will cut up to 40% of each of your underspent line items, leaving 60% of the original amount for you to spend. Those funds, once removed, become unavailable to your organization for the remainder of the year and are redistributed to the organizations which have applied for additional funding.

When is it?

The 40% cuts, or more affectionately named, the robinhood rule, takes place at the end of interim.

What do I need to do?

Be aware of which line items are exempt from the 40% rule in your budget. Ensure that by the end of interim, if you don't want a line item cut, make sure you spend at least 40%; however, if you have no use for the line item, don't simply go out and spend, just so you don't get cut. The 40% rule is a way to reconfigure budgets midway through the year, so that funds are distributed more equitably.

Sales Tax

Calvin College is a tax-exempt institution, meaning no purchase made for college purposes is subject to sales tax. The use of the tax-exempt number saves the organization and the college 6% of the expenditure. Failure to use this status is a waste of your resources. To encourage the responsible use of your organizations resources, Calvin's tax-exempt status must be used for any purchase above $25.00. Should you fail to comply with this policy, the individual who made the purchase will not be reimbursed for the sales tax charged on the purchase.

Tipping

We follow Calvin College financial services designated tipping policy. As an institution Calvin wishes all of those participating in college sponsored activities to be more than willing to tip appropriately and respectfully.

For non-delivery tips: Calvin College suggests tipping 15-20%. You WILL NOT be reimbursed for any tips exceeding the 20% limit.

For delivery tips: Cavlin College suggest tipping 10-15%. You WILL NOT be reimbursed for any tips exceeding the 15% limit.

Transportation

Vehicle Reservations:

Calvin College offers student organizations the ability to rent vehicles through the Physical Plant. Information on renting vehicles, including rates and policies, can be found here.

To reserve a vehicle through the Physical Plant, student organizations must fill out the student organization vehicle request form found here. All requests must be made atleast three business days prior to the event.

Once the form is submitted, the Finance Chair will confirm that you have the necessary funds in your budget for the rental, and submit your reservation request to the Physical Plant.

Vehicle Reimbursement:

We follow Calvin College financial services designated transportation reimbursement policy. Any vehicle reservations placed through the Physical Plant will be charged to your organization directly.

If you drive a Calvin College vehicle

The Physical Plant has the ability to refuel rental vehicles at a lower rate than local gas stations. If your rental does not use more than one tank of gas during the term of the rental, return the vehicle with whatever fuel is left and the Physical Plant will fill it up at the lower cost and charge your org. In the event that you need to purchase fuel on the road, keep your receipt and turn it in using the regular reimbursement form.

If you drive a personal or non-Calvin vehicle

You will ONLY be reimbursed by the mileage driven, not by the amount of fuel put in the vehicle. You will be reimbursed $0.30 per mile driven. Additionally, you will not be reimbursed for transportation expense incurred inside the greater Grand Rapids metropolitan area. To be reimbursed for fuel used in a personal vehicle, submit your reimbursement request using the mileage reimbursement form.

T-Shirts/Club Apparel

Many organizations have a promotional or club apparel line item in their budget. When placing orders for apparel, quite often the total amount of the purchase is greater than the amount allotted in the budget. The amount in the budget can be used to subsidize the cost of the apparel, of which the remaining balance of the purchase is to be funded by those purchasing the items. In order for the Finance Chair to pay for the order that is greater than your line item, the apparel contract spreadsheet must be submitted along with the payment request. This spreadsheet outlines what is being purchased, how the org is expecting to sell the items, where revenue will come from for the cost, and when the revenue will be expected. The revenue for the sale of apparel is required within 30 days of receiving the apparel. If the revenue is not collected and turned in, the total amount for the cost of the order will come out of other line items within the budget. Apparal purchases must be for the current year membership and organizations are not permitted to purchase items that they plan to sell in future years.