By Kelsi Peace, Features Editor
Filling out a budget request form just got easier, thanks to the new Students’ Association Web site, which allows student organizations to submit budget requests online.
The online version is the third generation of budget software created by SA that allows users to fill out their requests by answering a series of questions.
“We feel like we’ve finally gotten it down to what needs to happen,” said Tyler Cosgrove, SA Executive Treasurer.
Cosgrove said in the past, computer programs would shut down while students were filling out their forms and learning the complicated software proved to be too time-consuming.
Casey Thomas, senior accounting major from Wenatchee, Wash., submits the Wildcat Kid and Spring Break Campaign Budgets.
Thomas said the old method presented several problems: the previous year’s budget couldn’t be saved, the program had to be re-learned each year and each person could submit only one budget. Thomas, who had completed half of her budget request form for this semester, said the online version is easier to follow.
However, she said it’s frustrating because changes can’t be made to one part of a line item – the whole line has to be deleted.
The online form cannot be saved, it must be completed at one sitting.
Thomas said she contacted Cosgrove about the problems, and Cosgrove said he planned to talk to the program’s creator to make corrections.
“I think this program’s a great improvement to what it was,” Thomas said. “There are still more kinks to work out … but it’s really going to be beneficial in the long run.”
Cosgrove said the online requests will make the administrative side of budget requests less complicated as well.
Requests will be printed out in a uniform format.
In the past, Cosgrove said he had to walk some groups through the process. The questions the online version asks should eliminate confusion, he said.
Originally, requests were due Monday; however, because the Web site was not available until after Martin Luther King Day, Cosgrove said the date was moved to 5 p.m. Wednesday.
As of Monday afternoon, Cosgrove said he had not received any questions or complaints. He also said he hadn’t received any e-mails confirming a request had been submitted.
After submitting their requests, organizations still follow the same procedures they have in the past.
Officers meet with either Cosgrove or Kevan Kirksey, SA Chief Financial Officer and sophomore financial management major from Tyler, to review the requests, discuss fundraising, prioritize items and work on grant writing, if necessary.
Requests are then put before Congress where the 50 members make a final decision and designate money to organizations.
“We look at what [organizations] are asking for, how efficient they are and if they’re good stewards,” Cosgrove said.
Some groups requests are not met, but “a lot of groups have become realistic,” Cosgrove said.
The new Web address is www.acustudents.org, and the budget request form is located under the SA Budget link in the Treasury section.