Enhancement fund changes on the horizon

cuefpieStudents to get more say in spending of million-dollar fund

Students will see almost double the money after the $1.1-million Comprehensive University En­hancement Fund (CUEF) restruc­tures at the beginning of April.

Under the new plan, funds will be divided into thirds, with one-third going to the university sen­ate budgeting committee, one-third going to the undergraduate research (UREAP) program, and one-third managed by TRUSU to fund student events and initiatives (such as lectures or conferences). Of the third given to TRUSU, $15,000 will go to the Williams Lake campus student union.

Students pay $5.61 per credit into CUEF, one-quarter of non-tu­ition TRU fees, not counting lab fees or those administered through TRUSU.

Harder for “harder” money

The change comes after a presen­tation made by TRUSU to the sen­ate budget committee last March. The union argued that CUEF lacked transparency, encouraged reliance on “soft” money outside of TRU’s budget and did not adequately fund actual student initiatives.

According to TRUSU president Dylan Robinson, the new plan in­creases transparency, since students will have more control through the union and student representatives on the senate research committee.

“By targeting the vast majority of CUEF funds to direct student ini­tiatives and having the administra­tion of that fund managed by stu­dents, it will really kind of clear up that vagueness that was present in previous iterations of the Compre­hensive University Enhancement Fund and ensure that the fees and the monies that students are paying into the fund are actually used to directly benefit student activities on campus,” Robinson said.

In an email to The Omega, TRU VP of finance Matt Milovick added that set divisions would add consis­tency in how the fund is allocated, making it less “soft.”

Created in 2005, CUEF was originally meant to help the then University College of the Cariboo transition into a university by expanding available programs and student opportunities.

The current CUEF steering com­mittee includes two TRU admin­istrators appointed by the budget committee, two faculty members nominated by TRUFA and four stu­dents appointed by TRUSU. Faculty members must be approved by the budget committee.

Stirring the pot

With about $737,000 set to be­come directly available to students, CUEF funds for strategic invest­ment will drop significantly.

“Reallocations always create an impact,” Milovick said of the issue. “At this time, it’s too early to say who or what areas may not receive a CUEF alloca­tion and where or if the university’s budget can support an allocation to those areas.”

TRUSU’s allocation of CUEF funds will be managed alongside its current student grants through an application process similar to what is already in place.

Robinson added that no new TRUSU positions will be created to handle the influx of money.

“The students’ union already ad­ministers a lot of granting requests for clubs and campus groups, and I don’t anticipate much will change in that process with the management of the CUEF portion of the fund,” he said.

Students looking for CUEF funds after the end of March should apply through the student union.

Artwork by Shelby Purcha