Special Appropriations Fund


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 the concerns you have, so expect this page to be updated weekly. Thank you!

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 (RSOs) funding for putting on performances, workshops, programs, and other events hosted by students, for students. It is our goal to bridge the gap between “program planning” and “program implementation” through covering the cost of necessary program infrastructure such as stages, lighting, sound equipment, support staff, and venue reservations.

Do I have to be an RSO?

A. YES. There are no other alternatives; you must be part of a RSO 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.

What criteria does the committee use?

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 co-sponsors, correlation between the mission of the RSO and the mission of ASUW and more, we also look at the intangibles like “fun factor.” All these criteria can be condensed into five 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 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 your event from other groups around campus, the more likely your event will be a huge success and impact more students.
  5. Essential Items: While the fund has tens of thousands of dollars, try splitting it equally among the over 1,000 RSOs on campus. We prioritize funding based on elements that are absolutely essential for the event to occur. For example, 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.

How do I get funding?

A. Your SAO Adviser can give you a more detailed rundown of the process, but here are the basics:

  1. Fill out the request form and budget planning worksheet.
  2. Meet with your SAO Adviser. Meeting with your adviser is required – together you will go over your request and ensure your application is as complete and detailed as 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.
    • Our SAO Advisers live and breathe programming; they know their stuff – use this time wisely!
  3. Schedule a presentation time slot. Your SAO Adviser will confirm with us when you’ve met and submitted your application. We will reach out to schedule a time for you to present to the committee.
  4. Present your event plan to us. During the meeting, we will ask you to expand on your application and will ask about your budget. The committee will deliberate and come to a decision on how much to fund your event for. You will receive confirmation from us within the week you present.
  5. Run the event (Woo hoo!)

How long does the process take?

A. 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 three and four weeks to complete. However, many groups have managed to finish it in as little as two weeks with intentional and careful planning and scheduling.

How far in advance should I request funding?

A. You must ask for funding at least four 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 five to six 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.)

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, if approved, we will set aside your funding early on.

What factors go into scheduling presentations?

A. The primary goal for the committee is to support events through funding and we make every effort to make sure all groups will get their funding request reviewed two to three weeks prior to event. To achieve this goal, 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.

Late applications may be refused. If the application is submitted within four weeks of the event date, 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!

How much money can I get?

A. For the 2021-2022 school year, the maximum amount that any RSO may request from the ASUW Special Appropriations Fund is $2,000.

Can you fund food?

A. Food is considered a “gift of state funds” according to the state of Washington and University of Washington. Your tuition money is considered a tax by the state. This means all the money we receive are considered state/public funds, including Special Appropriations. State/public funds cannot be used to pay for food, gifts, prizes, and more; and all of these restrictions apply to your RSO when receiving ASUW money.

Not all money on this campus is derived from taxes. Money collected from fundraising or from self-sustaining entities (such as Housing & Food Services or UW Athletics) is not considered a 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 and more are available to you.

Can I request money for a fundraiser?

A. 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.

Didn’t see your question answered here?
Email the Finance and Budget Coordinator at asuwaa2@uw.edu or drop by our office in HUB 121 and we will be glad to answer any questions you may have!