At Columbia University, the Student Council has an annual budget of just under $1 million, according to the council’s president, Peter Bailinson. At Harvard, the Undergraduate Council receives an annual stipend of $450,000, while the University of Pennsylvania’s Undergraduate Assembly has an allocated budget of $2.1 million.
Meanwhile, the Yale College Council operates on what is by comparison a shoestring budget — $250,000.
“We only have a budget of $250,000 which is very small when compared to other Ivies,” YCC President Michael Herbert ’16 said.
According to the approved YCC Budget for the 2014–15 academic year, the YCC is projected to receive $191,000 from the student activities fee. Herbert said the organization also expects to receive an additional $40,000 from the University President’s Office around the time of Spring Fling.
More than three-quarters of the YCC’s total budget is used to fund Spring Fling. This leaves less than $20,000 per semester to be used on fall and spring semester events such as the Harvard-Yale game, Iron Chef and Mr. Yale.
Across all Ivies, the average amount students pay towards undergraduate student governments is $160. At Yale, only $75 of the student activities fee is allocated towards the Yale College Council.
“One of the primary problems you will see is in the quantity and quality of events the YCC puts on,” YCC Finance Director Connor Feeley ’16 said. “Thirty-five percent of the student activities fee goes to fund undergraduate organizations.”
In contrast, the University of Pennsylvania Undergraduate Assembly’s $2.1 million budget drew $210 from each UPenn student.
Similarly, Bailinson said his organization’s $1 million budget is mostly funded by $216 per student from the student activities fee.
“We have a certain administration power in allocating funds,” Bailinson said. “However, a lot of our influence comes from student interest and power.”
In October 2014, eight out of 12 students interviewed by the News said they would not mind paying more money towards the YCC through the student activities fee.