Funding FAQ

What kind of events qualify for funding?

As the GSG ByLaws state, the purpose of disbursing monies to organizations is "to fund activities that contribute to the general enrichment of the graduate students' university experiences." In order to serve the diverse graduate student population that pays the fee fairly, events must have the capability of appealing to graduate students across campus, and events that encourage cross-departmental interaction are particularly encouraged. Events that serve only one department, such as an orientation or talk about specific departmental requirements, are not eligible to be funded.

Who is eligible?

Both Graduate Students and Graduate Student Organizations may apply for Funds. Graduate student groups seeking funding from GSG must be registered with OrgSync for the academic year in which they are seeking funding. Graduate students must be responsible for the group's activities, and participation in any proposed event must be open to all graduate students. Political groups supporting a particular candidate for public office and activities that result in personal gain are not eligible.

How do we register with OrgSync?

Follow the directions / guidelines listed here for registering a new organization (including identifying officers, writing a constitution / by laws, obtaining a faculty sponsor).

Are there any limits on the number of EFRs our group can submit?

All properly registered graduate student groups may submit one EFR per qualified event. The GSG does not limit the number of events a group may receive funding for, but the amount of funding per group is limited as explained below.

Are there any limits to the amount of funding a group is eligible for?

In keeping with the goal of "serving the interests of as many students as possible," each graduate student  / graduate student group will be limited to 5% of the total amount of money allocated by the GSG Budget, which amounts to $770 for the 2016-2017 academic year, per event, without Assembly approval (passing through only Budget and Finance Committee review). If your group would like to plan an event or series of events that will require more than 5% of the budgeted money for EFRs, a formal presentation will be required before the Assembly for approval(see By Laws).

What criteria are used to decide what events are granted funding? Who decides?

The criteria used to decide which events are funded are based in the GSG bylaws, section VII, as interpreted and applied each semester by the Budget and Finance committee (BFC). The BFC is made up of the Vice-President for Financial Affairs and other graduate students who represent their departments in the Graduate Student Government or members of the general graduate student body. Current BFC best practices for EFR evaluation can be found here

What purchases are excluded?

Capital expenditures, trophies, registration or entry fees, alcoholic beverages, food from non-university approved vendors, drugs or illegal substances, salaries, and direct contributions to charities are not permitted. Honoraria, travel, or lodging expenditures also can not be funded at this time.

What places are approved for purchasing food?

Food can either be purchased on campus through university dining services or off campus at Domino's and Papa John's Pizza. For a list of vendors included in university dining services, please see this website. If you choose to purchase your food from Domino's or Papa Johns, you will need to provide the original receipts as proof of your purchase and a list of attendees at the event. Failure to produce the required documentation will result in a ban on your organization from future EFR funding.

Please note: In the event either the Stamp Student Union's in-house caterer or the restaurants in the Stamp Student Union are not able to accommodate the event sponsors menu needs, the event sponsors may seek a waiver in order to contract the services of an off campus catering company. If you chose to obtain catering from an outside vendor a copy of the county health permit, certificate of insurance and a photocopy of the certified food service manager's card from the restaurant with each request for waver should be submitted to the GSG Office. A requirement of using an outside catering vendor is that the GSO is required to have the certified food service manager on-site for the event. The catering company is solely responsible for assuring that the food is transported from the restaurant and served, and that the proper temperatures are maintained throughout the process. For more information, please download the Event Management Handbook.

Another brief note: If your group decides to apply for a waiver, the BFC suggests you submit your application before the 1 month deadline. It can take more than 2 weeks for the BFC to reach a decision which could make your group miss the 15 day deadline outlined in the handbook. It is not the responsibility of the BFC or the GSG to make sure your paperwork is submitted in a timely manner, this notification is simply a courtesy.

What is the application deadline?

GSG funding is available on a rolling basis in a first-come, first-served manner. The budget is allocated into equal amounts for the fall and spring and any funds not allocated during the first half will roll over into the second. Requests for funding for less than 5% of the annual EFR budget (for example, this is $770 for the 2016-2017 academic year) must be submitted at least one month before the event date, though the BFC appreciates as much advanced planning as possible.

Any requests for funding that exceed 5% of the annual EFR budget require a formal presentation before the assembly and will be need to be submitted a minimum of six weeks (preferably two months) before the event date to allow time to set up the presentation before the Assembly.

Please note: While the minimum deadline for requests exceeding 5% of the annual EFR budget is six weeks, you need to check the list of Assembly meetings to ensure that you have time to present your request to the Assembly before your event, and may want to submit your request earlier for this reason. Please keep in mind that submitting your EFR on time is your responsibility, not the GSG's, and that we are unable to fund last minute requests.

Are there any strings attached?

As mentioned above, any approved EFR is funded by a portion of the Graduate Student Activities Fee. The GSG is committed to ensuring that graduate students have access to knowing how their activities fees are being spent. Thus, to aid in this process, there are a few things that we ask of you if you are approved for funding by the GSG.

GSG-funded activities must be presented within the GSG in two ways. First, they must be posted on the Activities Calendar of the GSG website (via the student login) at least five days prior to the event. Second, your organization must provide an EFR Report Form describing the event immediately after the event is held. As part of the form, at least one photograph of the event must be provided that documents the success of the event, which will be posted on the GSG website.

Furthermore, the Graduate Student Government's sponsorship/co-sponsorship must be mentioned (either verbally or in writing) during the event and we require that you pick up a poster from the GSG offices and prominently display it during your event. Additionally, any ads, handbills, posters, flyers, or other forms of advertising paid for by the GSG activities fee must contain the clause, "This event/program/function is funded in part by your Graduate Student Activities Fee and is therefore open to the entire Graduate Student Community."

Groups failing to properly include the required clause on any advertisements paid for by the Graduate Student Activities Fee for GSG co-sponsored events, failing to prominently display the GSG poster at GSG co-sponsored events, and/or failing to appear before the GSG Assembly for a pre- or post-event report shall be ineligible for future GSG funding for a term not to exceed 18 months.

What if my group doesn't submit a Report Form on time?

Every GSG funded event must submit an EFR Report Form including at least one photograph of the event within 2 weeks of the event. The GSO will be given two warnings within the month after the event. If the Report Form has not been submitted within that time, the GSO may be subject to sanctions by the GSG and unable to obtain funding for up to 6 months to 1 year.

How can my group apply for funding?

Once a student group is registered for the current academic year with OrgSync, the group can apply for funding with an Event Funding Request (EFR). To do so, please go to the EFR Submission Form. You can view a sample budget as well for detailing the costs of an event.

Best Practices of the current BFC are posted here

What happens once my group completes an EFR?

After the EFR has been determined to be complete, the EFR will be assigned a number and passed on to be voted on by the BFC. Please keep in mind that this is a request for funding, not a guarantee. The BFC will have 7 business days to respond, either with a decision or questions / points of clarification for review. The determination of the BFC will be sent by e-mail to the organization contact listed on the EFR.

What happens once our event is approved?

Once your event is approved, your group will be sent an e-mail from our Director of Operations (gsg-office@umd.edu) explaining in detail what you need to do to receive your funds. All GSG-sponsored events are paid for in advance for university-approved vendors, meaning that you can only receive funds prior to the purchase of goods and services. Payments for BFC approved goods and services is made through a purchase order or internal transfer of funds from one department to another. There will be no payments to individuals. The Director of Operations will contact you when your paperwork is ready and someone from your organization should come to the GSG office during posted office hours to pick up the paperwork. Please note that funds cannot be moved from one category to another once they are allocated by the BFC.

Are there any times when the GSG cannot fund an event?

Yes, the GSG cannot fund events that take place during the break between the fall and winter semesters or events held in July, if that event exceeds 5% of the Event Funding budget, since there cannot be the necessary Assembly presentation outlined previously.

For a complete overview of EFR policies and procedures, please read Article 7.5 of the GSG bylaws.