Sacramento State’s Associated Students, Inc. discussed their 2019-2020 financial report, which showed a $1.7 million loss in program service fees, and financial relief for students in a Zoom meeting Wednesday.
Independent auditor Christy Norton noted that while ASI did lose revenue compared to last year and its net assets decreased by $700,000, its cash assets remained consistent at $11.9 million, compared to $11.5 million last year.
“Primarily, the main assets that ASI holds are in cash and cash equivalents,” Norton said. “Of that, there is about $1.2 million there that is being held in cash that is due to student organizations.”
ASI received an additional $400,000 in government grants, mostly from the Department of Education to support the ASI Children’s Center after they lost revenue due to COVID-19 restrictions on the number of children allowed in daycare at a time.
A $1.2 million loan from the Paycheck Protection Program was provided to Sac State to support student employees who were affected by campus shutting down.
“This loan was received the past year based on the CARES Act that was aimed at helping organizations throughout the COVID shutdowns, so most of those funds should be used for payroll costs,” Norton said. “If they are, then that loan will be forgiven.”
Potential strategic priorities to best support students this school year in the wake of Black Lives Matter protests and the ongoing COVID-19 crisis were assessed by ASI.
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One important priority was to “increase awareness of racial injustices, discrimination, and white fragility,” said Donna Walters, the ASI executive vice president.
In addition to this, ASI has prioritized engaging with more activism opportunities, including an effort to “advocate for redistribution of excess funds to support anti-racism work and scholarships for BIPOC students,” Walters said.
BIPOC is an acronym gaining popularity that stands for ‘Black, Indigenous and people of color.’
In an effort to identify areas of financial hardships, ASI discussed sending out a survey to all students, as well as collaborating with student groups on campus to identify the specific needs of BIPOC and first generation college students.
Another main priority discussed was alleviating some financial strain that students faced due to COVID-19 and ensuring that basic needs are provided for, including food, housing, technology, personal hygiene items and clothing.
The Crisis Assistance and Resource Education Support (CARES) Office will be partnering with ASI to address housing insecurities students may be facing. ASI will also be in charge of running their own clothing fundraisers, donation drives and food distributions on campus.
ASI is looking into conducting digital literacy training to help students learn how to navigate online learning, as well as partnering with Information Resources and Technology to investigate the possibility of loaning out laptops and Wi-Fi hotspots for the semester.
To ensure the health and wellness of students ASI contemplated partnering with Sac State’s Student and Health Services to distribute COVID-19 tests, flu shots and the COVID-19 vaccine once it becomes available.
These strategic priorities will be finalized at the next board meeting September 23.