Funding, Budgets, and Reimbursement
Law Students Association (LSA)
LSA receives an annual budget which is used to fund LSSO programming and other community events at the Law School. LSA also maintains a small contingency fund to provide supplemental funding for LSSO events and programs throughout the year. The entirety of LSA’s budget is funded by student’s Student Life Fee. Funding for LSSOs are determined exclusively by the LSA. LSSOs are strongly encouraged to co-sponsor events with each other in order to combine their funding. LSSOs may not sponsor (or co-sponsor) more than one event at the same time (e.g., an LSSO cannot sponsor two events for the same lunch period).
LSSO budget allocations are determined during the summer for the following academic year. LSA will consider membership and contribution to life at the Law School, among other things, in determining an organization’s funding allocation.
The Law School’s Office of Career Services has a limited amount of funding available that may be requested by LSSOs. In order for OCS to provide funding for a LSSO event, the following criteria must be met:
- the funding must be requested at least 2 weeks in advance of the event;
- the topic at the event must be career related;
- the LSO must be willing to cosponsor the event with OCS; and
- the event must not be at a time that competes with an event sponsored by OCS or the Clerkship Committee.
An LSSO is eligible for support only once during the academic year. To request such funding, contact the Career Services Communications Coordinator, Jessica Chiarella at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Office of the Dean of Students has limited funding available to LSSOs seeking assistance for a program or event. An application for funding from the Office of the Dean of Students can be submitted to https://www.law.uchicago.edu/DOSFundingRequest. Except in very limited instances, all of the criteria outlined on the form must be met to be considered for additional funding from the Office of the Dean of Students.
Graduate Council provides funding to individuals and groups to travel to conferences and events, or host events and other activities on campus. Additional information regarding funding can be found at https://gc.uchicago.edu/.
LSSOs that have their Graduate Council funding proposal accepted must reach out to Candace Bergeron (email@example.com) immediately upon confirmation of funding. She will facilitate the transfer of funds from the Graduate Council to the organization’s LSA account. Invoices of any kind should never be provided to the Graduate Council as all invoices are paid for internally by the Law School.
The Office of Multicultural Student Affairs offers a variety of resources to LSSOs whose activities help support the University’s students of color. This includes, among other resources, programming support and funding through OMSA’s Allocation Board. The Allocation Board reviews proposals submitted for OMSA funding. The Board generally consists of eight students actively involved in cultural RSOs. LSSOs interested in applying for funding from OMSA should review the funding guidelines and application materials available at http://omsa.uchicago.edu/page/omsa-grants-and-funding-opportunities.
Any RSO can apply for funding from the Community Service Fund, administered by the University Community Service Center (UCSC). This funding is limited to community service-related projects and can go to any RSO, even if the organization is not a Community Service focused RSO. Allocations are made on annual and quarterly bases. The funding body meets twice a quarter, during the 3rd and the 7th weeks. For more information about the funding deadlines and guidelines, please see https://ucsc.sites.uchicago.edu/page/csf-community-service-fund or contact Nick Currie, Community Service Advisor, at firstname.lastname@example.org or 773-743-4483
LSSOs that are RSOs are encouraged to request additional funding from the University’s Student Government (SG), since all University of Chicago students pay a Student Activity Fee, which is the primary source of revenue from which the SG funds RSOs. The SG uses this money to fund groups that have University-wide appeal and to provide services to the University community as a whole. For information about requesting funding from the SG, please review the Student Government Finance Committee’s Guide for Applying for Funding at http://sg.uchicago.edu/student-government-finance-committee/.
The Law School’s External Affairs Office manages all fundraising activities at the Law School, including soliciting money from law firms, alumni, and corporations. As a general rule, law students and LSSOs are not authorized to solicit funds from law firms. LSSOs receiving law firm funding must follow the University and Law School’s budget rules and reimbursement policies when inviting guest speakers and planning events. LSSOs may never sign receipts or other paperwork indicating that a donation is tax deductible. Such paperwork is provided by the Office of External Affairs, when appropriate.
Before pursuing donations (event sponsorship, auction items, etc.) from law firms, alumni, or corporations, LSSOs must contact the Office of External Affairs. Following this procedure ensures that the Law School maintains good relationships with the many entities and individuals that support the Law School. LSSOs that do not abide by this policy risk losing Law School funding. Information on LSSO fundraising is available at http://www.law.uchicago.edu/students/organizations/fundraising. Contact Jamie Hillner, Assistant Director of Annual Giving at email@example.com with all questions pertaining to external funding.
To seek funding from bar prep companies or any other external group, LSSOs must receive approval from the Office of the Dean of Students. Please contact the Office of the Dean of Students at firstname.lastname@example.org with requests.
As a general rule, the Law School does not provide funding for students to attend student organization conferences. The exception to this rule is when the conference is academic in purpose and the student is attending as a presenter rather than as a participant. In these cases, there may be funding available for student attendance. If available, the funding is typically capped at $500 per student and is awarded only after the student provides proof that s/he has exhausted all other funding possibilities (the Center for Leadership and Involvement, Student Government Funding Committee, Graduate Council Travel Fund and LSA may have funding available). An application for travel funding can be submitted to https://www.law.uchicago.edu/TravelFunding.
LSSOs seeking travel funds must meet each of the following criteria:
- Each student must contribute financially to the cost of the proposed trip. A student is expected to contribute at least 10% of the costs of the trip (including transportation, lodging, and any applicable registration fees) or $75, whichever amount is greater
- The proposed trip does not require the student to miss class or reschedule exams. This requirement will not be waived under any circumstances.
Upon return from the conference, the student is required to:
- Submit presentation materials to the Office of the Dean of Students for review
- Share conference presentations with his or her Law School colleagues through a lunchtime event or other presentation
LSSOs are required to keep track of their organization’s budget and must submit a budget proposal in the Autumn Quarter and a budget report in the Spring Quarter. The due dates for budget submissions are as follows:
Autumn Quarter budget proposal: Friday, October 18, 2019
Spring Quarter budget report: Friday, May 16, 2020
Treasurers must submit budget reports by 5:00pm by the date listed above to https://uchicago.box.com/s/x9ndksdah50kwf2607obiu9hof3p2dnh. LSSOs who fail to submit their documents on time will have their LSSO account suspended until a budget report is submitted and reviewed.
It is critical that LSSOs do not spend money in excess of their budget allocation. If an LSSO exceeds their allocation, the organization will be ineligible for funding the following year. LSA accounts zero out at the end of each academic year and all funds left in an LSA account will not roll over to the following academic year.
If members of an organization incur out-of-pocket expenses, they need to complete and submit a LSSO Funds Request Form. Reimbursement and stipend requests must be received by Student Affairs Office within two weeks of the expense being incurred.
The reimbursement and stipend process can take up to one full quarter and cannot be expedited.
LSSOs that will incur a large, out-of-pocket expense over $250.00, must discuss the expense with the Office of the Dean of Students before incurring the expense; doing so will avoid incurring a non-reimbursable expense or having a lengthy wait before reimbursement.
The process for submitting a reimbursement is as follows:
- Complete an online LSSO Funds Request Form (https://www.law.uchicago.edu/LSSOFundsRequest)
- Print a copy of the email confirmation page;
- Tape original receipt(s) to a blank sheet of paper (tape edges only);
- Paper clip receipt paper(s) to the printed request form;
- Place completed forms with attached original receipts to the tray by the Student Organization Mailboxes in the Student Affairs Office.
Instead of reimbursing speakers and guests for individual travel, LSSOs are to provide a travel stipend to cover travel expenses. LSSOs may, however, reimburse a speaker’s travel expenses for cab fare, mileage, etc., if the speaker is traveling to the Law School from within the Chicago metropolitan area only.
Domestic speakers from outside the Chicago metro area may receive a stipend of up to $750 (depending on the event’s budget) to cover airline tickets and any incidentals (cab fare, meals, etc.). Hotel costs are not included in the $750 cap. Keep in mind that the stipend and hotel costs come from the sponsoring LSSOs budget. Refer to the Planning an Event section for details on how to secure a hotel for speakers and guests.
The process for submitting a speaker stipend is as follows:
- Ask your speaker fill out and sign a W-9 form
- Complete an online LSSO Funds Request Form (https://www.law.uchicago.edu/LSSOFundsRequest);
- Print a copy of the email confirmation page;
- Attach a copy of the speakers W-9 and a copy of the Law School Calendar event advertisement to the email confirmation form;
- Place completed packet to the tray by the Student Organization Mailboxes in the Student Affairs Office.
As a general rule, goods and services are reimbursable. Questions regarding reimbursable expenses should be directed to the Office of the Dean of Students before incurring the expense. Most of these restrictions are University-wide restrictions, and the Law School is prohibited from allowing exceptions.
Goods: Office supplies, stamps, photocopying, art supplies, films, and fabric.
Services: Engraving, screen printing, printing, taxi and parking expenses, tickets to events, and rentals.
Not all goods and services are eligible for reimbursement. Several categories of non-reimbursable expenses have caused problems for LSSOs in the past. These include:
Gifts/Donations: LSSOs cannot be reimbursed for gifts given to guests, outgoing leaders, outside organizations, or others. If an organization hosts a VIP speaker for whom a gift may be appropriate, please contact the Office of the Dean of Students.
Personal services (unless accompanied by appropriate documentation): For example, if a LSSO pays a cellist $50 to play at a reception, the cellist must submit an invoice and a W-9 rather than a receipt. For details about what satisfies this requirement, please contact the Office of the Dean of Students before incurring the expense.
Speaker honoraria: The rationale for not paying honoraria is that speakers are honored to be asked to speak at the Law School. There are no exceptions to this rule.
Insurance on rental cars: Any student who rents a car for official University business (including student organization business) must rent the vehicle from Enterprise locally or National Car Rental. Students do not need to purchase the rental company’s insurance policy because the vehicle will be covered under the University’s insurance policy as long as all appropriate paperwork is completed. Contact the Office of the Dean of Students for the appropriate paperwork. Please note that it takes a minimum of two weeks to process a request for University insurance, so make sure that paperwork is submitted well in advance of the anticipated travel date.
Travel arrangements purchased with miles or points: The University can only reimburse for travel arrangements (plane tickets, hotel, etc.) purchased with actual funds (whether via cash or credit card). The University cannot reimburse for travel arrangements made using frequent flier miles or points.
All expense receipts are due no later than 5:00 p.m. May 11, 2020 for the 2019-2020 school year.