New Residential College Board budget plan limits account balances

Annie Bruce, Reporter

A new Residential College Board plan will prohibit member colleges from keeping more than a certain amount of funds in their accounts at the end of each academic year.

The plan, which limits the account balance to 1.5 quarters’ worth of dues, is intended to improve spending efficiency and hold residential college treasurers more accountable.

In the past, some residential colleges had excesses of close to an entire year’s worth of dues remaining in the account, said Kai Huang, vice president of financial affairs for RCB. With the new reforms, any extra money will go toward RCB to hold larger events for all students.

After meeting with members of Residential Services and the Residence Hall Association in the spring, RCB proposed an updated plan to limit the amount of money remaining in residential college accounts to 1.5 quarters’ worth of dues.

Huang said members of the board helped formulate the new plan after Paul Riel, executive director of Residential Services, noticed an excess amount of money in residential college accounts. 

Huang said the proposal, which was adopted this week, will take effect immediately. Residential colleges will now need to spend the money in their accounts to get the total down to the required amount.

“This is all part of the reform to make RHA and RCB run more effectively and just make the on-campus experience for everyone that much better,” the McCormick junior said. “I think it’s really important that we make sure that each year the dues that students pay in to that college that year are spent on those students.”

Extra funds resulted from small savings that built up over the years in each account, Huang said. Treasurers will also make budget plans and quarterly and yearly reports to avoid excess funds in the future.

“These excesses don’t just come up out of nowhere,” Huang said. “This was years in the making. So even though we put in this new cap … a lot of the plan is just about letting the treasurers know that they need to really push for this zero-balance budget.”

Huang said residential colleges typically reserve money during Spring Quarter to invest in larger events in the fall and winter and the new 1.5-quarter limit will help colleges continue that pattern, while also ensuring most of the money is spent.

Riel said he has not formally received a proposal from RHA yet but believes they will come up with a similar model for residence halls.

He said the new plan will ensure the social fees students pay with their housing cost are used more effectively.

“My concern was that we weren’t using that money wisely nor were we putting it back into students,” Riel said. “We just want to be good stewards of the money students provide.”

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