Each semester, the University charges a "Student Activities Fee" to each student. This fee was originally requested by students, and approved by the University Board of Trustees, to ensure that students would have an annual fund base from which activities could be funded that are deemed "exclusively for the enjoyment of students." The SFAC funding is not intended to replace the funding sources already available to student or administrative groups, such as the Recognized Student Organizations that are funded by the Student Goverment Association (undergraduate) or the Graduate Student Senate (graduate). The Student Activities fee may be increased only by request from the Associate Vice Chancellor for Student Affairs and the Provost to the Chancellor and with the approval of the University Board of Trustees.
The SFAC is comprised of 11 voting members. As part of the annual spring elections for the SGA seats, Class Officers, and Student Trustee position, the student body elects two undergraduate SFAC Representatives. The elected Senior, Junior, and Sophomore class Presidents are also members of the SFAC as a component of their position. Following the SGA elections, the Senate internally elects their President and Treasurer, both of whom have a seat on the SFAC. Following the Graduate Student Senate election, the new president and treasurer of the GSS will have a seat on the SFAC. Two senior Student Affairs Administrators also serve on the SFAC, with the Senior Student Affairs Officer assuming the role of SFAC Chair. The SFAC meets in May, but if it also meets to allocate available funds mid-year, the Committee will also include the elected First-Year Class President.
Prior to the student spring elections, applications to request funding from the SFAC are sent to all groups or organizations that received SFAC funding during the previous year. Additionally, a note informing the community about the SFAC process will be communicated via UMD Announce and via The Torch. Each entity that received SFAC funding the year prior will receive a budget spreadsheet displaying the amount requested and received during the prior year and the balance remaining to date. The entity is responsible to add written detail informing the SFAC how the previous allocation was used, how the remaining money will be spent (if applicable), and how the requested allocation for the following year will be used.
The SFAC establishes a Budget Allocation Hearing Schedule and each applicant is allocated a time-slot in which to personally meet with the SFAC.
The SFAC membership receives an orientation to the process by the SFAC Chair after their election and in advance of the Allocation Hearing Process. The orientation includes helping SFAC members to understand the role of the SFAC, previous allocation decisions, and the hearing process format. At the end of the orientation, each SFAC member receives a manual containing the schedule for each hearing and each applicant's spreadsheet and descriptive information.
Following the SFAC orientation and prior to spring finals, the SFAC meets with each applicant, according to the disseminated schedule. Once all hearings have been completed, and based on the amount of money available to the SFAC as confirmed by the Finance Department Representative to the committee, the SFAC decides, by majority vote, the amount of each allocation, if any, to each applicant.
Decisions of the SFAC are sent to the Chancellor for approval. Once approved, the decisions are communicated in writing to each applicant.