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Credit Cards/Reimbursements

All student organizations looking to make a purchase with their line item budget must request a credit card (Costs over $100) or be reimbursed using the link found here.

Questions?

Contact your Finance Chair at financechair@calvin.edu:

Conferences

Any organization is eligible to apply for funding to attend a conference appropriate to that student organization. Student organizations can not budget specific line items for conferences. The finance chair, under the advisement of the finance committee, controls an account containing funds that are to be used for conferences.

Click here to request funding for a conference.

Financial policies and procedures

Budgets/budgeting

What is it?

The budgeting process is a formal process which requires a budget hearing set before the finance committee. During this time, each organization will present their proposed budget for the next year and answer questions from the finance committee. The budgeting process can be strenuous for some, depending on how well they've managed the current year's budget. Org budgets are be used for operational costs only, i.e., the costs that are necessary to operate the org. Any capital items that the org needs that will last for more than one year should be requested using the Capital Items Funding Request. Capital items are explained under the “Capital Items” section. Any costs that are not guaranteed to happen should not be budgeted for, but rather be requested as incurred by using an Ad-Hoc request. Ad-Hoc requests are explained under the “Ad-Hoc Requests” section.

When is it?

The budgeting process typically takes place the last few weeks of March

What are the budget lines?

When creating your budget, consider using the following budget lines:

  • Campus Store - Things purchased at the Campus Store, such as office supplies.
  • Copy Center (Printing Services) - Charges for making copies or having things printed in printing services.
  • Dues and memberships - Supplement for memberships or dues for an organization with a Calvin chapter.
  • Equipment - All purchases for equipment to help an organization carry out its purpose.
  • Honoraria - Charges for speakers or gifts for speakers.
  • Office Supplies - For office supplies purchased at off-campus locations.
  • Programming - Any expenses related to the programs of an organization with the exception of transportation and food.
  • Promotional - Expenses related to promoting or publicizing an organization with the exception of Printing Services (use Copy Center line).
  • Refreshments - All food expenses.
  • Retreats - Charges relating to the costs of putting on a retreat such as lodging, food and/or transportation. If renting vehicles through Calvin, use Transportation line.
  • Revenue - All income coming into an organization for dues, income, etc.
  • Transportation - Charges for transportation according to the SSFC policy.

What do I need to do?

As the budgeting process draws closer, we will give you more information about what needs to happen. However, the budgeting process and rechartering process go hand in hand. When you recharter your organization you are asked to hand in a proposed budget for next year. As a rule of thumb, we ask that you try and limit any proposed budget increase to no more that 5% per line item per year. Once you have submitted your budget, you will be asked to sign up for a budget hearing time. When it is time for the budget hearings, you will come before the Finance Committee in a formal setting, where your current budget will be compared to your proposed budget. The hearing will last approximately ten to fifteen minutes. After your hearing, the Finance Committee will deliberate and render an appealable decision regarding your budget. You will then have the option of appealing the committee's decision and they will again review your proposal. After the appeal, the Finance Committee's decision is final and your budget will be finalized for the next year.

Can I shift funds between line items during the year?

Funds are not to be shifted between line items during the year. The reason budgets are used is to limit the amount of spending on different areas of your budget. Only in extremely cases will funds be moved from one line item to another. If you believe you have a case where funds should be shifted, contact the finance chair. The time that funds can be shifted between line items takes place at the spring budget hearings, where you will have the opportunity to construct your budget for the next year in a way more fitting to your current spending habits.

  • Capital items

    Capital items are items purchased for the org that will benefit the org for more than one year. Examples include athletic equipment, computer equipment, video equipment, etc. Capital items are purchased by the College, considered College property and remain with the College from year to year. Rather than budget for these items within an organization’s budget, orgs requiring capital items are instructed to request funding for them at the same time as the spring budget hearings. If capital item requests are approved, the org will receive funding to purchase these items. Should there be unexpected equipment costs incurred during the school year, an ad-hoc request should be submitted for extra funding.

  • Is there a form to fill out?

    Yes! Conference Funding Request Form

    Please fill out this form completely. The finance committee requires the following information to be submitted at least two weeks prior to the conference:

    • Number of participants
    • Estimated food expenses
    • Date and location
    • Estimated reasonable travel expenses
    • Name and purpose of conference
    • A short explanation of how your attendance will benefit the Calvin community
    • Conference fees
    • Estimated reasonable lodging expenses

    How much funding can I expect from the Finance Committee?

    The funding approved by the finance committee usually varies on a case-by-case basis, but usually, if approved, the finance committee will fund approximately 40-60% of the conference expenses; however, the finance committee has the right to deny any conference request at any time and its decision cannot be appealed regarding the status of the conference application or the amount of funding.

    How long will I have to wait to know the status of my conference application?

    The finance committee usually meets roughly once or twice a month, depending on the volume of activity. The finance chair can give you a rough estimate of the amount that may be approved; however, he or she can not promise what the decision of the finance committee may be. The finance committee will try to render a decision in as timely a manner as possible, usually within one to two weeks after the receipt of the conference information. Please submit all conference requests to the finance chair.

    What happens after I receive approved conference funding?

    Receiving conference funding means that you will receive up to the amount of funds approved by the Finance Committee from your request. However, the amount of funds ultimately reimbursed may vary depending on a couple of criteria. First, conference funding is allotted in a per-person amount. If the amount of people who attend the conference differs from the initial conference funding request, the total amount of conference funding will be less than the original amount. Second, if estimated costs decrease, or the conference plans change, the amount of funds given will be based on the new costs using the percentages originally allotted of the original estimates.

    Be sure to keep all receipts when you attend your conference. After returning from your conference, seek reimbursement using the conference funding reimbursement form.

  • Deposits and revenue

    Any time money is received by an organization, either by cash or by check, it needs to be submitted to Financial Services. They will ask for your organization name and source of revenue. You will then be provided with a receipt of your deposit for your personal records.

    Should your organization have a revenue line item with a designated revenue amount, it is expected your organization will raise the required funds. All checks should be made payable to Calvin College.

    Organizations that collect dues from their members must use the Calvin College Box Office for all revenue collection. Members of the organization will have the ability to pay for their dues with cash, credit card, check or their miscellaneous account. In order to collect revenue through the Box Office, student organizations must contact the Finance Chair to set up an account with the Box Office. Organizations that collect dues cannot process the collection of dues from their members themselves by collecting cash or check, as done in the past. All dues in relation to 1st semester events must be turned in before the first event of the season. All dues in relation to 2nd semester events must be turned in before the first event of the 2nd semester.

  • Direct account charging

    Each student organization has their own account numbers that are used by Financial Services to process reimbursements requests. In the past, organizations have been able to tell different departments across campus (Campus Store, Printing Services, etc.) this account number, charging purchases directly to the organization and therefore not requiring reimbursement. This feature will no longer be possible. The inability to limit the amounts organizations charge to their account often results in overspending. Instead of directly charging their account, students must purchase items themselves and then seek reimbursement using the normal reimbursement form.

    When are they?

    Financial reports are issued monthly. Quarterly reports are issued at the approximate end of each academic quarter. The annual report is issued at one of the final Student Senate meetings, usually the in the first few weeks of May.

  • Fundraising

    If you are planning an on-campus or off-campus fundraising event of any kind, you must first gain permission from the Campus Involvement and Leadership Office. This applies even if your fundraising event takes place on campus. There are rules, both Calvin and federal, concerning anyone who gives to Calvin College. Please complete the following form https://goo.gl/forms/Ch6bJWcY4KQXN1562 

  • Record keeping

    Student organizations are encouraged to keep accurate records of all organization-related spending. These records will be checked at the fall audits and throughout the year at various times. At the end of the year, student organizations receive a grade based on their performance during the year. One grading criteria is how well they kept financial records. To make the process of record keeping easier, the Finance Committee has produced a template excel spreadsheet that can be used the keep track of expenditures.

    Download the Record Keeping Template (.xlsx)

    While the use of this template is not required, it is an approved method of record keeping that will result in a good grade at the end of the year.

  • Retreats

    Retreats are to be budgeted as individual line items within a student organization's budget. A retreat shall be defined as a one day or overnight excursion attended by a majority of the members of the student organization. Retreat expenses will be reimbursed by the same guidelines as other student reimbursements.

  • Sales tax

    Calvin College is a tax-exempt institution, meaning no purchase made for college purposes is subject to sales tax. The use of the tax-exempt number saves the organization and the college 6% of the expenditure. Failure to use this status is a waste of your resources. To encourage the responsible use of your organizations resources, Calvin's tax-exempt status must be used for any purchase above $25.00. Should you fail to comply with this policy, the individual who made the purchase will not be reimbursed for the sales tax charged on the purchase.

  • Tipping

    We follow Calvin College financial services designated tipping policy. As an institution Calvin wishes all of those participating in college-sponsored activities to be more than willing to tip appropriately and respectfully.

    For non-delivery tips: Calvin College suggests tipping 15–20%. You will not be reimbursed for any tips exceeding the 20% limit.

    For delivery tips: Calvin College suggests tipping 10–15%. You will not be reimbursed for any tips exceeding the 15% limit.

  • Transportation

    Vehicle reservations

    Calvin College offers student organizations the ability to rent vehicles through the Physical Plant.

    To reserve a vehicle through the Physical Plant, student organizations must fill out the student organization vehicle request form. All requests must be made at least three business days prior to the event.

    Once the form is submitted, the finance chair will confirm that you have the necessary funds in your budget for the rental and submit your reservation request to the Physical Plant.

    Vehicle reimbursement

    We follow Calvin University financial services designated transportation reimbursement policy. Any vehicle reservations placed through the Physical Plant will be charged to your organization directly.

    If you drive a personal or non-Calvin vehicle

    You will ONLY be reimbursed by the mileage driven, not by the amount of fuel put in the vehicle. You will be reimbursed $0.30 per mile driven. Additionally, you will not be reimbursed for transportation expense incurred inside the greater Grand Rapids metropolitan area. To be reimbursed for fuel used in a personal vehicle, submit your reimbursement request using the mileage reimbursement form.