Activities & Organizations News

SFAC releases recommendations for FY 2021, remainder of FY 2020

SFAC recommended major pay increases for many student organizations, including The Cougar, to comply with IRS regulations and a recent SGA bill that raised the minimum wage on campus to $8 an hour. | File photo

SFAC recommended major pay increases for many student organizations to comply with IRS regulations and a recent SGA bill that raised the minimum wage on campus to $8 an hour. | File photo

The Student Fees Advisory Committee on Monday released its recommendations for fiscal year 2021 and the remainder of fiscal year 2020, endorsing major pay increases for many student organizations.

The committee allocates student fees all students contribute to when they pay for classes each semester. SFAC recommends how much money to give student fee funded organizations.

Its recommendations are sent for final approval to President Renu Khator and Vice President for Student Affairs and Enrollment Services Richard Walker, who historically approve in line with what SFAC recommends.

This year, the biggest change to all student fee funded organizations was stipend student leaders pay increasing to meet IRS regulations. Along with meeting IRS regulations, it will also comply with a recent bill the Student Government Association passed, which raised the student minimum wage on campus to $8 and hour. SFAC said to not expect the committee to increase pay for student leaders in the future.

 Activities Funding Board

SFAC recommended reallocating a base budget of $181,120 for FY 2021 to the Activities Funding Board. The AFB is allocated one percent of the Student Services Fee

“We thank you for your efforts in promoting AFB’s brand and acknowledgement of SFAC support in the marketing materials of the events the agency sponsors,” the report said. “AFB’s presence at campus wide events has not gone unnoticed.”


The FY 2021 base in dedicated Athletic Facility Fees is approximately $3,417,722. SFAC reauthorized Athletic’s base budget of $4,407,707. 

The report said SFAC was thankful that Athletics took into consideration the committee’s request last year to increase collaboration between department and the Spirit of Houston. The report said the committee said is eager to see how Athletics develops new partnerships with the student body and other University Sponsored Organizations.

“SFAC appreciates your drive to ensure the personal success of our student athletes in addition to their academics as well as their performance in their respective sports,” the report said. “The committee is in support of your effort to collaborate with student organizations.”

A.D. Bruce Religion Center

SFAC reauthorized A.D. Bruce Religion Center’s base budget of  $221,267 for FY 2021. 

SFAC approved the center’s FY 2020 one-time request for new carpeting and partially funded its $840 technology request for a public address system. 

SFAC approves its FY 2021 one-time marketing request and said the committee is excited to see the effectiveness of the center’s ‘We Are Here’ campaign to attract and engage the UH community.

A.D. Bruce Religion Center’s FY 2021 one-time request for programming was also approved, but the committee said they wanted explicit program attendance data for continued support in the future. 

“The committee recognizes the value of the A.D. Bruce Religion Center to the campus community and will continue supporting it so it can in-turn support student success and wellbeing,” the report said.

Blaffer Art Museum

SFAC reauthorized Blaffer Art Museum’s base budget of $21,500 for FY 2021. 

Blaffer was denied its base augmentation request for Blaffer Art and Design 2.0, but it was approved as a FY 2021 one-time request. 

“The committee strongly encourages greater incorporation of quantitative data and statistics in future reports from the Blaffer art and design 2.0 program; we also look forward to more attendance data from events held throughout the year,” the report said. 

Campus Recreation

Campus Recreation’s FY 2021 base in dedicated Recreational Facility Fees is approximately $10,615,946.  SFAC reauthorized its base budget for FY 2021 of $302,493. 

“Your engagement with students helps improve their health and lives on and off campus,” the report said. “We look forward to the renovations that will improve the student experience at the campus recreation.”

Center for Diversity and Inclusion

SFAC reauthorized the Center for Diversity and Inclusion’s base budget of  $337,636 for FY 2021. 

Its FY 2020 one-time request and FY 2021 base request for an assistant director position were approved.

“The committee believes that this position will help support CDI in their efforts to expand as a department on this campus,” the report said.

The center’s FY 2021 one-time request for Martin Luther King Jr. Day celebrations was denied. The report said when the committee considered the data and cost per student, it did not feel that the attendance figures justify the cost of the event. 

“We thank you for your efforts in supporting one of the most diverse college student populations in the nation,” the report said.

Center for Fraternity & Sorority Life 

SFAC reauthorized the Center for Fraternity & Sorority Life’s base budget of  $358,718 for FY 2021.

Its FY 2021 one-time request for the ELEVATE conference was denied. The committee determined, given the information that was provided, the “sample size of collected data is not adequate for a proper assessment,” and the attendance does not otherwise justify the cost per student.

The committee said given the downward trend in Greek Life participation on campus, it recommends CFSL increase and revitalize on-campus collaborations and partnerships. 

“SFAC suggests CFSL find alternative sources of funding for future programming as well as meticulously tracking any data relatable to the department,” the report said. “The committee appreciates CFSL’s active involvement to enhancing student life.”

Center for Student Involvement

The Center for Student Involvement’s base budget of $793,186 was reauthorized for the upcoming fiscal year. The one-time request of $18,550 for funding to reach out to UH-Sugar Land and UH-Katy was also approved.

SFAC denied CSI’s FY 2021 one-time request for funding to support ServeUH, which the committee said was too similar to the Metropolitan Volunteer Program to justify funding. Its FY 2020 request for Registered Student Organization development and support was also denied because SFAC believed they were not helpful.

SFAC did decide to give CSI $500 towards a chat feature function to ease communication between RSOs and CSI.

Center for Student Media 

The Center for Student Media was reallocated its base budget of $200,811 with no augmentation.

FY 2020 and FY 2021 one-time requests of $11,130 for conference travel was also approved.

Center for Students with Disabilities

The Center for Students with Disabilities was reallocated its base budget of $386,737 for FY 2021.

The committee also approved CSD’s one-time requests for FY 2020 and FY 2021 of $31,429 and $19,504, respectively, for Accessible Information Management, an online platform that allows students to view, manage and request accommodations through Student Disability Services.

Children’s Learning Centers 

The Children’s Learning Centers had its base budget of $113,329 reauthorized and did not ask for any one-time requests. 

Council for Cultural Activities 

The Council for Cultural Activities received an augmentation of $15,342 to its base budget to put it in compliance with IRS requirements. Its base budget is now $171,102.

Both FY 2020 and FY 2021 one-time requests of $46,661 and $31,319, respectively, were approved to go towards IRS requirements and Cultural Taste of Houston.

“SFAC has noticed there is ambiguity and cross over within CCA’s bylaws and those of AFB,” the report said. “Therefore, we strongly request that a review be set up to look over AFB and CCA bylaws, and plug any and all possible overlap related to possible co-sponsoring and types of events that are allowed to be funded.”

Coog Radio

Coog Radio’s base budget was increased by $14,081 to comply with IRS requirements regarding student salaries. Its base budget is now $49,068.

An FY 2020 one-time request of $14,081 was also approved and will go towards IRS requirements.


CoogTV received its base budget and an augmentation of $8,761 to put it in compliance with the IRS requirements for student leader salaries. Its base budget is now $87,139.

SFAC denied its one-time request of $7,753.90 for conference travel, for both FY 2020 and FY 2021, citing the conference as more for networking and not learning that it said does not benefit the overall UH community.

The Cougar

The Cougar received a base budget augmentation of $19,939 to put it in compliance with IRS requirements. Along with an increase in base budget, The Cougar received their FY 2020 request of $2,924.54 and FY 2021 request of $1,873.55 both of which were for sports travel.

SFAC also approved The Cougar’s request one-time requests for conference travel for both FY 2020 and FY 2021, both of which were $6,536.25 and $6,536.25. Along with travel, The Cougar also received its one-time request for a features editor position and the corresponding pay increase, which, for FY21, totaled $6,609.

Lastly, SFAC approved the FY 2020 one-time request for photo equipment, which totaled $4,627.82.

Cougars in Recovery 

Cougars in Recovery received its same base budget of $82,829 in FY 2021 as it did in FY 2020, having requested no additional funds. 

We thank you for taking care of our students who have opted to engage in a lifestyle of recovery from substance abuse while pursuing academic and professional goals,” the report said. “Thank you for being their pillar of support.”

Counseling and Psychological Services

SFAC partially approved Counseling and Psychological Services’ base budget augmentation requests for the transfer of two counselor and two psychiatrist positions to the student fee. SFAC approved a budget increase of $191,648, bringing CAPS’ base budget to $2,359,406.

The augmentation will cover two of the requested positions, while a one-time request of $183,533 was approved to cover the remaining two positions, but the report did not specify which positions. SFAC encouraged CAPS to continue improving wait times and the quality of its mental health services.

“The committee encourages CAPS to be better stewards of student fee dollars,” the report said. “SFAC expects to see better utilization of the monies allocated to the department by solving the issues identified earlier.”

Dean of Students office 

SFAC reauthorized the Dean of Students Office’s FY 2020 base budget of $1,152,447 for FY 2021 and thanked the office for its role in student advocacy and its support services. 

DSAES Business Services

SFAC reauthorized DSAES Business Services’ base budget of $867,060 for FY 2021.

“The committee applauds your progress in reducing late payment fees and supporting the behind the scenes work done throughout the division and all units supported by the Student Service Fee,” the report said. 

DSAES IT Services

SFAC reauthorized DSAES IT Services’ $963,180 base budget of FY 2020 for FY 2021, while denying a base augmentation request for “professional development, conference attendance and student staff IT certification.”

Instead, SFAC approved these as one-time requests in FY 2020 and FY 2021.

Frontier Fiesta

SFAC approved Frontier Fiesta’s base budget and augmentation request up to $189,057, as well as a FY 2020 one-time request, to comply with IRS requirements for student leader salaries.

Frontier Fiesta also received its FY 2020 and FY 2021 one-time requests of $15,797 and $319,402 respectively, for “operations expenses, safety and security, productions audio and video and parking lot rental.” 

SFAC also warned Frontier Fiesta that if attendance and data collection methods did not improve, the committee would find it difficult to continue supporting the organization.

“These improvements are expected immediately, and the committee looks forward to seeing them,” the report said.

Health Center

The Health Center received a base augmentation to bring its budget up to $2,003,801 to reflect the increase in the enrollment base, while maintaining the Health Center Fee at $21.50.

SFAC commended the center’s plans for a new health center, improving services in the psychiatry clinic and looked forward to the initiative to accept third-party insurance providers. 

Speech and Debate

SFAC reauthorized the base budget of $39,992 for FY 2021, in addition to approving one-time request of $19,928 for travel.

The report condemned the organization for not providing data in past years, but thanked the organization for providing the committee with data upon request this year.

“Receiving data from Speech and Debate has become a constant issue over the last few years,” the report said. “We would like to note that providing funding under the Student Service Fee to any unit is not a requirement or obligation that SFAC has to fulfill.”

Spirit of Houston

SFAC reauthorized the Spirit of Houston budget of $336,400 for FY 2021, in addition to a $50,000 base augmentation and a $250,000 one-time funding request.

The base augmentation will be used to create a Spirit Coordinator Position for cheerleading,  the Cougar Doll Dance team and the mascot. The one-time request will be used to complete the purchase of new band uniforms ($150,000), as well as allow for additional travel ($100,000).

Student Centers

Student Centers’ base budget for FY 2021 of $563,016 was reauthorized by SFAC. It had no one-time requests.

The report commended the Student Centers for its collection and presentation of data in its request and suggests other organizations look at it when forming future requests to the committee.

It was recommended that the Student Centers and SPB work together to avoid similar film series programming.

Student Government Association 

SFAC approved the FY 2020 and FY 2021 base budget augmentation for an increase in student leader salaries to comply with IRS requirements, however, its request for a Green Fund was denied. 

“While this was an innovative request, it is in violation of our current bylaws to structure it as requested,” the report said.

The report went on to suggest SGA form a task force to assess how it could be implemented in the future.

SFAC Operating

SFAC approved a FY 2021 base budget augmentation of $3,000 for its own operating budget. Its base budget is now $10,000.

SFAC said it determined it should operate self-sufficiently from the Dean of Students office and increased its base budget to reflect that.

Metropolitan Volunteer Program

SFAC reauthorized the budget for the Metropolitan Volunteer Program and approved the FY 2021 base augmentation and FY 2020 one-time request, totaling $14,412 to adjust the salaries of student leaders.

“We appreciate the increase in the number of volunteer hours by MVP and wish to see the trend continue. We look forward to seeing the evolution of MVP towards these goals and its efforts towards the Houston community,” the report said. 

LGBTQ Resource Center

The LQBTQ Resource Center’s $14,840 request for programming was approved for FY 2021. 

“We are excited to see the increase in student involvement and learning objectives as outlined in the request,” the report said. “The committee appreciates all that the LGBTQ Resource Center does to promote awareness while making UH a safe environment for the LGBTQ community.”


Homecoming had its base augmentation request to increase student salaries approved but was denied $10,580.92 for summer marketing. Bed Races, however, was approved for FY 2021 as a one-time request, granting a total of $14,129.80 for the event.

“The committee would like to see more non-Greek involvement throughout each event Homecoming offers,” the report said.

Student Program Board 

SFAC approved giving the Student Program Board a higher budget for next year’s Homecoming Concert, totaling $59,890 compared to last year’s $37,100 that was approved. 

“Given a greater budget for this year’s Homecoming Concert we are excited to see what the concert will bring,” the report said. 

SPB’s cinema programming will be back next year, with SFAC approving the $10,600 one-time request for it. 

“We are pleased with the performance the Cinema programming has yielded in previous years, and we are excited to see the program continue to grow,” the report said. 

The committee also approved pay increases for the organization, totaling $16,526 for FY 2020 and FY 2021, and $165,360 for a Frontier Fiesta Concert. 

University Career Services

SFAC denied University Career Services’ FY 2021 base augmentation request for VMOCK career dashboard but approved it as a one-time request, asking to see satisfaction surveys in the future from the department. 

However, the committee approved the organization’s FY 2021 base augmentation request for Cougar Pathway, totaling $26,500. 

“SFAC currently finds (Cougar Pathway) to be a core vital platform that is utilized by students to start and develop their professional careers,” the report said. 

Urban Experience Program

A college mentoring program for first-generation Latina students, Las Comadres College Mentoring Program, roughly $5,300 for FY 2020 and FY 2020 was approved by SFAC for the Urban Experience Program. 

The Urban Experience Program FY 2021 requests for the UH Dreamers Initiative and First Generation Summer Bridge were approved for $10,070 and $10,918, respectively. 

“We look forward to the effect that these events will have on our future UH students,” the report said. 

University Career Services 

SFAC approved a $2,650 one-time request from Veteran Services for FY 2020 to support Green Zone Training. The training is for faculty and staff to “effectively engage with and support” veterans. 

The committee also approved a FY 2021 one-time request for veteran services programming, totaling $36,920.

“We hope that this continues to serve and integrate Veteran and military-connected students to the greater UH community,” the report said. 

Vice President for Student Affairs and Enrollment Services Office

SFAC reauthorized Vice President for Student Affairs and Enrollment Services Office base budget of $1,304,586 for FY 2021. 

The office did not have any additional requests for the committee. 

UH Wellness

UH Wellness had several requests approved, but a FY 2020 one-time request and FY 2021 base augmentation request for a communications specialists was denied. 

The position, if it had been approved, would have been required to “design and implement materials that promote individual and community health and well-being and positive culture change within the campus community.”

SFAC approved a FY 2020 one-time request for the Student Curriculum on Resilience Education program, which would have been a pilot program to help students develop skills in coping with personal, social and academic challenges. 

The committee denied UH Wellness’ request for a certified health grant program as “this request is not in compliance with our bylaws.”

However, the committee did approve the departments FY 2021 one-time request for a well-being influencer program. The program would be a pilot to promote health and well-being to students. 

Women and Gender Resource Center

SFAC approved the Women and Gender Resource Center’s FY 2021 one-time request for sexual misconduct support services and its FY 2021 one-time request for a mentor program, combining to cost $15,442. 

“The committee is glad to continue supporting your outreach and educational efforts at the University of Houston,” the report said. 

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