Special Appropriations Funding


Below are some of the most frequently asked questions regarding Special Appropriations, ranging from basic questions about the application process to more complex questions regarding our rules and everything in between. This list will grow throughout the year based on your questions and concerns you have, so if your question is not answered here, please email us at asuwbdpg@uw.edu and we will likely add it to the list. Thank you!

Q. What is Special Appropriations?
A. Special Appropriations is a fund created by the Associated Students of the University of Washington (ASUW) designed to give back to our student community. This is done by directly giving Registered Student Organizations (RSO) funding for throwing performances, putting on workshops, running programs, and other events hosted by students for students. It is our goal to bridge the gap between “program idea” and “program implementation” through covering the cost of needed program infrastructure, such as stage, lighting, sound, supporting staff, and venue reservations.

Q. Do I have to be a part of a RSO/Do I have to register my student organization to apply for Special Appropriation funding?
There are no other alternatives; you must be part of a Registered Student Organization to apply for funding through Special Appropriations (we want to make sure we are giving our money to students after all). You can register your organization through the Student Activities Office – see http://depts.washington.edu/sao/ for more information.

Q. What criteria does the committee use to decide how much funding a RSO receives?
A. The committee uses a comprehensive set of criteria to determine how much a RSO will receive. While we look at such things as cost per student, number of cosponsors, correlation between the mission of the RSO and the mission of ASUW etc, we also look at the intangibles, like “the fun factor”. All these criteria can be condensed into 4 primary points;

  1. Wideness of Appeal: If every student on the campus knew about your event and had an equal opportunity to go, how many would attend?
  2. Directed at UW Students: If every person in Seattle knew about your event and had an equal opportunity to go, how many of those people in attendance would be UW students?
  3. History of Success: How many students went to your event in the past? Did they enjoy it?
  4. Pursuing other Funding Sources: This seems counter-intuitive at first, but the rational here is that the more support you have for you event from other groups around campus, the more likely your event will be a huge success and impact more students.
  5. Essential Items: While $70,000 sounds like a lot, try splitting it among 850 RSOs and you will find each organization is looking at receiving only $82. We prioritize funding based on elements that are absolutely essential for the event to occur. If you are running an event in Kane Hall and reserving Kane 130 is essential for your event, we will help fund that before we fund advertising.

Q. How do I get funding?
A. The process is laid out more fully on the coversheet of the Request Form, but here is the quick rundown for you:

  1. Fill out the request form.
  2. Your SAO Adviser will sit down with you and go over your request to make sure you submit the most successful application possible. They will be asking logistical questions to ensure that state regulations are being met and that your big idea is properly conveyed in writing.
    1. Our SAO Advisers live and breathe programming; they know their stuff – use this time wisely!
  3. After we receive conformation from SAO that you have met with your adviser, Special Appropriations will contact you to schedule a meeting time. During the meeting, we will ask you to expend on your application, and will ask about your budget.  After the meeting, you will be informed by the Friday of the week your requested money how much funding you will receive.
  4. Run the event (Woo hoo!)

Q. How long does the Special Appropriations process take?
While the entire timeline from idea to receiving funding depends a lot on the planning prior to filling out the application, once started the process usually takes, on average, between 3-4 weeks to complete. However, many groups have managed to finish it in 2 weeks with successful planning and scheduling.

Q. How far in advance should I request funding?
A. You must ask for funding at least 2 weeks in advance of the event date, but the earlier you apply the more likely you are to receive funding. If you are hosting an event that has a paid speaker, you must finish the Special Appropriations process 5 to 6 weeks in advance of your event. (Paid speakers get their money on the day of the event and it is University of Washington protocol to pay speakers with a check. Checks take 5 to 6 weeks to process a check through the UW.)
Here is a fun fact – There is no restriction on how early you can request funding. If you have a big event in April and you have enough information in November to apply, go ahead and apply and we will set aside your funding early on.

Q. What factors go into scheduling RSOs for committee meetings?
The primary goal for the committee is support events through funding and we make every effort to make sure all groups will get their funding request reviewed 2 – 3 weeks prior to event. Therefore, we prioritize applications by event date, not date of submission. For example, if Group A applied for funding before Group B, but Group A’s event is two weeks after Group B’s event, then we schedule Group B first.
Here is a not so fun fact – late applications may be refused. If the application for RSO is submitted too close to the event date and cannot get on the agenda with adequate time get your group funding appropriately, you may be asked to push back your event or, worse, be refused funding altogether. The lesson here is do not wait until the last minute!

Q. How much money can I get through Special Appropriations?
A. For the 2016 school year, the max amount that any RSO may request is $3,000.

Q. Why don’t you fund food?
The reason why we do not fund food through Special Appropriations is due to a regulation set in place by the state of Washington and enforced by University of Washington. The regulation is rooted in a concept of “gift of state funds”, where a handful of people benefit directly from funding received through taxation, something heavily frowned upon by taxpayers. Since only one person can enjoy food consumed by that person, it is considered that one individual is benefiting from fees collected from everyone. This idea of “gift of state funds” also applies to office supplies and travel.
Here is a fun fact – not all money on this campus is derived from taxes. Money collected from fundraising or from self-sustaining entities (such as Housing and Food Services via RHSA or UW Athletics via the IMA) is not considered state tax and can be spent on food and other consumable items. Talk to your SAO adviser to see what other options for funding food, office supplies, and travel are available to you.

Q. Can I request money for a fundraiser?
Special Appropriations funds cannot be used to put on events that are advertised as fundraisers, or where the primary purpose is to raise money, either for the RSO or an external group.  However, RSOs requesting Special Appropriations funds may donate the proceeds from an event, provided the event’s main purpose is not to raise funds.


Did not see your question answered here?
Email your question to asuwbdpg@uw.edu or drop by our office, HUB 121,  and we will be glad to answer it as soon as possible!