Latest COVID-19 Information

FAQs

FAQs

 

  1. What we can’t spend student fees on: 

 

  • Direct Donations- while student groups can hold events that support charities or organizations we cannot directly donate SCOMSA funds 
  • Fundraisers- SCOMSA does not fund items that would then be sold by a group or individual to earn a profit
  • Alcohol-related expenses
  • Retroactive Funding
  • Stand Alone Gift Cards- This was the first year gift cards were considered eligible purchases. However they still have some limitations including that you cannot purchase them without an explicit purpose, such as an event or activity. All gift cards need to be approved by SAO before purchase 

 

*this list does not include the funding guidelines SCOMSA has set for ourselves in regards to funding student groups and individuals

 

2. Why can’t we rollover funds: As a non-profit organization there are tax and legal limitations to rolling over fiscal budgets. 

 

3. Where does unused money go: Anything SCOMSA does not use is absorbed by the university with other budget surpluses and the university decides where to spend that money.

 

4. Why were we charged full fees during COVID: The university (President Brown and Board Members) discusses and dictates tuition/fees during the Fall of the previous year. Hence the 20-21 tuition rates and fees were set in the Fall of 2019 before the start of the pandemic. While our school did ask for adjustment to fees, the University did not feel that this was feasible, given the financial demands of COVID., iSecondly, this coming year’s tuition was set in Fall 2020; and Dean Antman did advocate for lower costs.

 

5. Why we can’t get refunds: Refund decisions are made by the university and cannot be approved by the Medical School. However, an important note for COVID is that SCOMSA/SAO budgets are meant to build community, which doesn’t just mean in-person events with food. We as students are still adapting to organizing non-in-person activities but are finding different ways to use the funds for the community.

 

6. Why didn’t SCOMSA get these policies changed:  These are University policies. Although, last year we were approved for a one time  rollover of a portion of our surplus due to the Budget Freeze and postponed events. This request was approved because we, at the time, thought we were going to put on postponed events from the Spring on top of our normal operations that would argue for the need of extra funds.

 

7. How we plan our funds: Since we cannot rollover funds, SCOMSA plans out a yearly budget with methods to ensure full spending. Our major budget items include student groups, conferences, and formal. The rest of the budget goes towards various other SCOMSA organized or sponsored community events and internal operations (stocking activities closet, reusable decor, etc). At the beginning of June, the Budget Committee meets to discuss and plan the yearly budget with subsequent approval from the General Body. Decisions are made based on previous year’s spending and anticipated spending of student groups and events. Individual student groups must request funds on a semester basis (May/December) to encourage event planning and better help us determine what will be needed in the coming months so we can appropriately allocate funds. At the end of the Fall Semester unused funds are resorbed and reallocated to Spring events. In a typical year we are running on a tight budget and tend not to have much excess, but any unused funds at the end of the Spring Semester are put towards Senior Week as one of the last events before the fiscal year ends. 

 

8. How we adapted funding during COVID: Normally, we can accurately estimate how much funds we will need to cover student groups and travel expenses, but due to the uncertainty of what guidelines would allow and novel virtual conferences, we did not know how much funds these large budget items would use. Firstly, we did not have a good grasp on what conference spending would look like as the ease of attending virtual conferences may have greatly increased student participation, but the lower expenses from no physical travel may have reduced overall costs. Additionally, while we tried our best to only approve funding for events that would be allowed under COVID guidelines, rapidly changing protocols over the Fall meant groups were not always able to hold their planned events and ended up with unused funds in their budgets. At the end of the Fall Semester we resorbed all student group budgets and reallocated them to activities that strictly adhered to school guidelines in order to prevent unused funds. However, as of now many student groups have still not used their approved funds and we highly encourage student leaders to please try and use the funds that were allocated to them. If funds remain unused by the end of the semester they will be resorbed and put towards the “End of Year” event. For these reasons it has been very difficult to predict spending patterns and estimate exactly how much money should be allocated to certain budgets. As a note, all SCOMSA organized events have used up their entire budgets. Now that a majority of events have occurred we can better estimate surplus funds and plan end of year spending.

 

9. How we are dealing with end of year spending: This year we will be able to afford an additional End of Year event or initiative. Each class will benefit from this end of year spending. Since fourth years are leaving and may not benefit from certain purchases that would only affect students actively attending the school, we have allocated a proportional amount of funds to increase the Senior Events Budget. This goes directly to events such as Match Day and Senior Week where students received event related care packages that can be picked up in the SAO office. M4s may vote for preferences on how to spend their remaining allocated funds. Other class years can also vote for preferences on how they would like their allocated funds to be used. Options include, but are not limited to care-packages, student lounge equipment, portable ultrasounds, or testing materials. Final decisions will be determined by student preferences, logistical feasibility, and the final budget.

 

Primary teaching affiliate
of BU School of Medicine