Undergraduate Council Finance Committee
Grant Evaluation Guidelines
April 4, 2018 Revision
Applying for a UC Grant
Interviewing for a UC Grant
Allocation Process for a UC Grant
Submitting a Completed Project Form
Appealing Allocations for UC Grant
Referencing this policy guide
Because the UC Grants Fund is drawn from voluntary contributions by Harvard College students, funding is strictly intended to directly promote undergraduate community and enhance student life. The Finance Committee has adopted the following guidelines in order to facilitate these goals while maintaining fiscal responsibility.
Only officially recognized student groups in good standing with the Office of Student Life may apply for UC grants. However, only projects or events meeting the following criteria are eligible to receive funding:
- The student group accepts membership from all Harvard College students. Student groups requiring “comps” for new membership must accept all members who complete the comp process.
- The entirety of the project must occur during the period between the first day after shopping period and the final day of classes, inclusive. These dates can be found on Harvard’s Five-Year Calendar. For instance, events occurring during summer or winter break, or during reading period, are ineligible for funding.
- Student groups must acknowledge the Undergraduate Council visibly on all publicity materials and all programs for shows and events. (For example, by writing “Funded by the UC.”) Groups should use the UC logo, which is available on the UC grants website.
- House Committees (HoCos) or their events will not be funded under any circumstances. HoCos obtain block grants from the UC at the beginning of every school year and thus are not eligible for additional funding.
- Clubs that are in bad standing will be unable to receive UC Finance Committee funding until either a hearing by two unaffiliated Finance Committee members is completed. Clubs can enter bad standing by not submitting receipts, not returning unused funds to the UC Finance Committee, or failing to complete compulsory sexual assault prevention trainings if mandated by the UC Finance Committee.
Grant applications requesting totaling less than $200 and requesting funding for only food and publicity may be eligible for UC Small Grants and do not require interviews.
(Applications will receive notification by email.) The Finance Committee reserves the right to call in any student group for an interview.
- Retroactive grant applications may be submitted up to 21 days after the event takes place, as long as they are submitted by the application deadline for the semester.
- All grant applications must be submitted in the same academic semester during which the event takes place.
- The application deadline for each semester will be decided and publicized by the Finance Committee at the beginning of the semester. The Finance Committee will not accept applications after this date.
- Club Sports: Club sports interviews are offered each semester. The Finance Committee shall interview all club sports on the same week each semester, at a date to be published on the UC website and publicized to the student body. The Finance Committee reserves the right to deny funding to any club sport that misses this deadline for any reason.
Applying for a UC Grant
- Application deadlines are every Sunday at 11:59pm. Applications must be submitted by this deadline to interview that week. Applications submitted after the deadline will be interviewed the following week.
- Grant applications must be submitted using the Finance Committee’s Grant Application Form, which can be found at http://bit.ly/harvardgrants.
- Once a grant application has been submitted, it may be electronically edited any time before the grant interview. At the discretion of the Finance Committee, minor amendments to the grant application may be accepted during a grant interview (see below). If amendments are made to the application after the interview, a second interview will be necessary. The Finance Committee reserves the right to make a grant decision final, pending an appeal.
Interviewing for a UC Grant
- After a grant has been submitted, the applicant will be contacted via email (at the email address designated within the grant application) by the Finance Committee for an interview with the committee. This email will be sent on Sunday evening.
- Applicants are expected to attend their interview at the time assigned. Interviews will usually take place on Wednesday nights, between 7:00 PM and 9:00 PM, at a location outlined in the email sent by the Secretary. During the interview, one or more Finance Committee representatives will ask questions regarding details of the grant application to determine which aspects of the project or event are eligible for funding. Groups applying for $1000 or more in funding must bring at least two students to their interview.
- The Finance Committee reserves the right to deny an interview to any club that shows up more than 10 minutes after their assigned interview time.
- Grant interviews can be rescheduled if the applicant misses his or her interview. However, should an interview for a specific grant be missed 3 times, the grant will be dropped by the Finance Committee.
Allocation Process for a UC Grant
- Following the interviews with grant applicants, the Finance Committee will discuss each grant application. The Committee will vote on the recommendation for each grant, and grant applicants will be notified of this recommendation via email by a Finance Committee representative shortly following the interview. Please note that these recommendations by the Finance Committee are not final or guaranteed.
- Should the Finance Committee attempt to allocate more money than it has allocated in a predetermined weekly budget, it reserves the right to impose a funding cut across any or all projects receiving funding for that week.
- Following the Finance Committee meeting, all grants must be reviewed by the entire Undergraduate Council at the next UC General meeting.
- Following review and approval by the Council, the Finance Committee will contact grant applicants via email to notify applicants of the final allocation for the grant.
- The Finance Committee reserves the right to enforce a minimum cut across weeks in order to maintain budgetary stability.
Submitting a Completed Project Form
- All student groups are required to fill out and submit a Completed Project Form for each project or event receiving funding from the Undergraduate Council. This form is available at bit.ly/harvardcomplete.
- Please note that these forms are audited by the Finance Committee. Student groups whose Completed Project Forms and receipts do not closely reflect their grant applications will be penalized when they apply for UC funding in the future.
- Upfront grant checks can be obtained from the UC Treasurer. Upfront grant recipients must then submit the Completed Project Form with receipts to the UC Finance Committee within 21 days after the event has occurred or the last day of reading period, whichever is first. If the total expenditures of the event or project were below the amount funded by the Finance Committee, student groups are required to remit funds via checks paid to the order of the “Harvard Undergraduate Council.”
- Club Sports receipts are due on the last day of reading period.
- Applicants for retroactive grants that require interviews must submit a Completed Project Form with receipts within 21 days after the interview has occurred, or by the end of reading period, whichever comes first. Retroactive applicants for Small Grants should submit receipts within 21 days after the application submission, contingent on approval. Following this submission, retroactive grant checks or direct deposits will be available from the UC Treasurer.
- If recognition for funding is not given to the UC, the Finance Committee reserves the right to freeze funding. All printed material and publicity should visibly include the UC Logo.
Appealing Allocations for UC Grant
If a student group feels that the UC has made an error in allocating funding for a grant application, appeals can be made to the Finance Committee through the following process:
- The grant applicant should contact the Secretary of the Finance Committee via email, explaining the reason for appeal.
- The grant applicant should resubmit the grant using the Grant Application Form, and explain why the appeal has been made in the “Other comments” section of the grant application.
- At the Committee Chair’s discretion, a second interview for the grant application may be necessary. All appeals will be discussed and recommendations are subject to final approval by the entire Finance Committee.
Note: The following policies are guidelines and final decisions rest with the discretion of the Finance Committee.
- Tax: Tax associated with certain products is included in that category’s overall total. For instance, tax associated with food purchased will be count toward the total for the food category.
- Club Sports: Approved club sports teams will receive a maximum of $1,000 - $2,000 in UC funding per semester, as outlined below; this maximum includes all equipment, practice, and instructor costs, as well as funding for any recruiting or social events held by the team. This policy applies for all official Harvard College club sports teams (Aikido, Fencing, Soccer, Wushu, etc.). Club sports with less than 15 members are eligible for funding of up to $1,000. Club sports with 15-25 members are eligible for up to $1,500. Club sports with more than 25 members are eligible for up to $2,000. Club Sports teams are required to submit team rosters at the time of their interview, or they will be ineligible for funding.
- Student Publications: The Finance Committee will fund up to $500 for 1 issue of a publication per semester.
- Musical and Theatrical Performances: A maximum of 60% of the performance/intellectual property rights will be funded by UC. Script and score copying costs are counted separately. Please note that required dry cleaning costs will be subsidized at 50%. All printed material and publicity should visibly include the UC Logo. Musical and theatrical performances will receive a maximum of $1,000 for all costs, including box office fees.
- Admitted Students: Events with admitted students (prefrosh) in attendance will be funded based on the number of Harvard undergraduate students present, with no regard to the number of admitted students in attendance.
- Fundraisers: At the Finance Committee’s discretion, fundraisers may be awarded grants toward costs of fundraising that are not actual donations to the organization for which funds are being raised.
- Vacations: The Finance Committee will not fund any events that occur during summer or winter break. Note that Wintersession events may be funded through the OSL.
- Ticketed events: All ticketed events must be SEF eligible.
- This policy applies to retroactive grant applications as well. Retroactive grant application which failed to provide SEF-eligible tickets will be penalized.
- General operational costs: Operational costs are only funded for items which are essential to the purpose of the organization and will be used in a series of events. For example, a political organization will not receive funding for a paper cutter, but a letterpress organization may receive funding for a paper cutter.
- Apparel: Costumes may receive up to $1,000 in funding per calendar year only if they will be re-used in several performances. The Finance Committee keeps records of which groups receive funding for costumes and for what events; we expect that costumes will be passed down within the membership of the organization for several years. Apparel that is nonessential to the purpose of the group, i.e T-shirts advertising for a project, student group, or event are not eligible for UC funding. For Club Sports, jerseys and uniforms fall into this category.
- Transportation: Transportation (whether by subway, car, Uber, or other medium) within the Boston Metropolitan Statistical Area, as defined by the US Census Bureau, will be funded at most the cost of a roundtrip on the T using a student-discounted Charlie Card ($4.50 per student per trip). Transportation (whether by car, bus, plane, or other medium) outside the Boston MSA will be funded at most $15 per student. Organizations may only receive this $15 dollar grant twice a semester for the first twenty students. After this, tickets will be funded at maximum of $7.50 per student. Further trips outside the Boston metro area will be funded at $4.50 per student per trip. Transportation to pickup or deliver food, such as Uber, is considered included in the allocation of this budget.
- Publicity: Publicity (flyers, postering, online pubbing, etc.) expenses will be funded at most $15 per event. Student groups must acknowledge the Undergraduate Council visibly on all publicity materials (eg, by including the clause “Funded by the UC”) to be eligible for funding. Groups are encouraged to use the UC logo. Electronic publicity, e.g. boosting a Facebook post or buying a Snapchat geofilter, will be funded as long as the publicity contains the words “Funded by the UC” and appropriate receipts can be provided. This policy applies for upfront and retroactive grants.
- Proper documentation for publicity is required in order to receive funds. This includes receipts from Kinkos, Staples or Gnomon Copy, as well as a breakdown of the print jobs if Papercut is used. A receipt showing money was added to a Papercut account will not be accepted.
- Food: The Finance Committee funds food and beverages for events. Funding for the first 100 students is allocated by the following criteria:
Type of Food
Snacks, desserts, and beverages (Cookies, cupcakes, etc)
$3.00 per student
Small meals (Pizza, wings, etc.)
$4.00 per student
Full meals (Any meal that could conceivably replace breakfast, lunch, or dinner)
$5.00 per student
- Events that exceed an attendance of 100 qualify for $2.50 per person for a full meal, $2.00 per person for a small meal, and $1.50 per person for snacks (instead of the normal 5-4-3) for each person above the first 100.
- A club may petition to be exempt from this cap if they feel they have sufficient reason, to be confirmed by a majority vote of the Finance Committee.
- The Finance Committee recommends that students take advantage of free HUDS packouts, barbecues, and catering. This is, in almost all cases, cheaper than buying food and asking the Finance Committee for reimbursements (which may not completely cover the cost).
- For events with multiple meals, including multi-day events, food costs are capped at $5.00 per person per day, for a maximum of 3 days. Please note this is a cap. For example, a group applying for two small meals for one day conference would receive $5.00 per person.
- All dishware (plates, cups, napkins, utensils, etc.) is considered included in the allocations for food. No additional or separate allocations will be made for dishware.
- Alcoholic beverages will not be funded.
- Transportation to pickup or deliver food, such as Uber, is considered included in the allocation of this budget.
- Venue Rental: All venue costs will be funded at most $200.00 per event. These costs include rental fees, set-up fees, custodial/janitorial fees, and usher or required personnel fees, as well as entertainment licenses levied by Harvard or the City of Cambridge or any equivalent adjudicating body.
- Harvard University Police Department (HUPD) Details: HUPD details will be funded at the rate provided by HUPD. The UC will fund the detail at the four-hour minimum. Weekday HUPD details will be funded at most $195.80 per event ($48.95 per hour). Weekend evening (party) details will be funded at most $282.20 per event ($70.55 per hour). The Finance Committee will fund HUPD detail for a maximum of $282.20 per semester per student organization.
- Disc Jockeys: DJ’s/musicians for a dance will be funded at most $150 per dance.
- Competition, Registration, Admissions, and Entrance Fees: The Finance Committee will fund up to one such fee per organization per semester. Entrance fees to events that are directly related the purpose of the organization, such as conferences and competitions, will be funded at most $25 per participant per event up to 25 students. After this, at most $10 per participant for this event up to $1000. Club Sports fees to national organizations will be funded at most $25 per person per year. Social events such as rock climbing and Escape The Room will be funded at most $10 per participant per event up to $500 per event
- Audio/Visual Equipment: A/V and media equipment will be funded subject to the follow restrictions:
- The Finance Committee will fund A/V equipment from any vendor, but funding will be capped at the daily rates provided by Harvard’s Media Technology Services (MTS). These rates are provided in the table below. AV/Media equipment will be funded by the committee at three instances per semester per organization.
- Lighting is considered a part of A/V.
- The Finance Committee recommends that student groups sign out equipment from MTS, which is based in the Science Center, Room B-02. All of these packages are free if returned on time. The following packages are available:
- Computer/Video Projector: MTS loans out a computer/video projector for official student groups. This includes a screen, small powered speaker, DVD player, and all necessary cables.
- Small Sound System: Two powered speakers on stands, with one wired microphone and an input for other devices (MP3 player, computer, etc). Good for groups up to 125. Not recommended for parties.
- Large Sound System: Two very large speakers with a powered mixer/amplifier, two wired microphones, and numerous inputs for other devices. This is the only system MTS has that is recommended for parties.
Daily rate (5+ hours)
Sound system (<30 people)
Sound system (30-75 people)
Sound system (75+ people)
Rates Updated on 4/20/2017
- General Meetings: The Finance Committee will fund a maximum of 4 general/normal meetings per semester per organization. A general meeting is any event which primarily consists of a discussion about items relevant to the organization’s operations and goals.
- Costs: Printing costs will be funded at most $0.04 per sheet printed. This policy is intended for the printing of programs for shows and events, and only printed materials that will be given to Harvard college students will be funded. All programs for shows and events must acknowledge the Undergraduate Council, eg, in the sponsors list. A UC logo is available on the UC grants website.
- Instructor Fees: Instructor, referee, coach, and other related personnel fees will be funded at a maximum rate of $1.00 per person per hour of instruction. Photographers are included under personnel fees. For student organizations, the Finance Committee will only fund up to $100 for instructor fees per event. Club sports and dance teams are not subject to this cap. Funding for a club sport team's instructors, referees, and coaches contributes only to that team's total funding cap of $1,000.00, $1,500.00, or $2,000.00.
- Decorations: Only thematically-linked decorations will receive funding for an event or project. For example, banners or flowers will not receive funding, but international flags for a cultural event may be eligible. Decorations will be funded at a maximum of $50.00 per event or series of events, as determined by the Finance Committee.
- Guests: Expenditures for travel of guest speakers and honoraria, lodging fees, and invitation fees for these guests are not eligible for Finance Committee funding.
- Club Elections: Club elections will be counted against the “General Meeting” funding total.
- Fashion Shows: Funding for all fashion shows is capped at $2500 subject to the same funding policies as other events.
- Conferences: All conferences, symposiums, hackathons, etc. are capped at $3000 subject to the same funding policies as other events.
- Lodging: Costs for hotel rooms, Airbnbs, or other overnight accommodations are not eligible for UC funding.
- Materials and Supplies: Costs for necessary materials and supplies for events or student groups will be funded at the discretion of the committee. The committee will look favorably on items that are absolutely essential and reusable (ex. a chess board for a newly founded chess club).
- Board Retreats: The Finance Committee will fund only one board-only event per organization per semester. Funding for these retreats will be capped at $200. Note that board retreats are not entitled to $200; they are funded using the same policies as any other event, but are limited to receiving no more than $200.
- Websites: The Finance Committee will fund websites at its discretion. Student groups are encouraged to apply for free websites through the Harvard Computer Society (HCS) or free websites (no coding required) on WordPress, Weebly, or Wix. The UC will consider funding hosting when 1) the website is critical to a core aspect of the group or event beyond publicity and providing information and 2) free hosting is demonstrably insufficient for the site.
- Film Screening/Pay-Per-View/Online Video Licenses: The Finance Committee will fund up to $10 for single movie or TV purchases such as DVDs, Amazon Prime Now rentals, YouTube rentals, or a competing service. Pay-per-view shows will receive up to $5 per attendee, up to a cap of $100. Film screening licenses will be funded for up to $5 per attendee, up to a cap of $300.
- Awards and Prizes: The UC will not fund awards or prizes. Definitions of “fashion show” and “conference” are at the discretion of UC FiCom.
- Outside Funding: The Undergraduate Council strongly encourages applicants to secure funding from multiple sources. When determining funding allocations, all outside funding is subtracted from ineligible expenses before eligible ones.
- Collaboration: Events that are collaborations between two or more OSL-recognized student organizations are eligible to be immune from funding cuts (see “Allocation Process for a UC Grant.”) To be immune from cuts, one representative from a majority (50% + 1) of the collaborating student organizations must attend the interview together. For instance, if two clubs collaborate on an event, one representative from both (50% + 1) must attend; if five clubs collaborate, one representative from each of three clubs must attend.
- Honesty: Evidence of dishonesty when applying or interviewing for a grant is grounds for disqualification of a student group from receiving future funding from the Undergraduate Council. All sources of revenue (i.e. leftover funding from previous semesters, ticket sales, etc.) must be reported to the Finance Committee, and all expenditures must be documented with receipts.
- Wintersession Grants: Student groups are strongly encouraged to put together proposals for this week. The Finance Committee will release an application each Fall for a share of up to $15,000 worth of grants for innovative projects that take advantage of the week away from studies at Harvard. Note: The policies dictating the use of these funds will be released with the application and will not be the same policies as in this guide.
- Minimum Cuts: The Finance Committee reserves the right to make a minimum cut of up to 15% in order to promote equity across weeks.
If you have questions about the Finance Committee, our funding policies, or our interview process, please contact email@example.com.
Referencing this policy guide
You can use the link http://bit.ly/ucfunding to refer to this guide. When referring to a particular policy, please be sure to state the revision date (found at the top of the document), since our policies and numbering schemas are liable to change at any time.