USESF: Frequently Asked Questions
What is the USESF?
The University of Saskatchewan Engineering Students' Fund (USESF) is an endowment fund designed to "advance the engineering undergraduate student experience by distributing funds to student groups and individuals within the engineering undergraduate community."
How is it funded?
The USESF is an endowment fund, which means that it is comprised of two accounts: one that acts as "savings" and collects interest, and another that will be distributed each year (the 'spending' account). The USESF is funded by a $20/term student fee, an annual $20,000 donation from the College of Engineering, and other donations from alumni and supporters.
Half of your $20 fee ($10) is put into the endowment fund to collect interest, and the other half is put into the spending account to distribute to applicants that year. The $20,000 donation from the college is distributed each year (not put into 'savings'), and alumni can choose to either endow their donation or put it towards the year's spending. The interest collected each year from the endowment fund is transferred into the 'spending' account to be distributed along with the other funds.
How much money is distributed each year?
In its first year (2020-21), the USESF will be able to distribute approximately $52,000, depending on interest and other variable factors. That's more than $30,000 more than the SAF (see bottom of page) could distribute in the past. In 10 years, the USESF could be able to pass out at least $72,000, and in 20 years it could be at least $106,000. This growth is from the collected interest, and these numbers don't account for donations from alumni or external organizations. Many alumni have already made donations to the fund (including the class of '79), so the spending amount is already going to be larger than these forecasts.
Who is in charge of the fund?
The funding is governed by the USESF Student Council (sometimes simply called the Council), which is comprised of a variety of student leaders:
- SESS President
- Executive Assistant to the Dean
- 2 design team leaders (or designates)
- 3 discipline society/professional association leaders
- 1 SESS executive representative
- 2 general undergraduate student leaders (not involved with any student groups)
USESF Council meetings are chaired by the SESS president, with the Executive Assistant to the Dean acting as secretary, but these two positions do not have voting rights. This prevents bias and puts the power into a balanced group of student leaders.
You can find out more about the operations of the USESF Student Council in the Council Terms of Reference.
How are the funds distributed each year?
Students and student groups are be able to apply for funding to reimburse any costs spent in the current fiscal year (May 1st to April 30th). Students can also apply for funding to cover costs that have not yet been spent, but the applicant would not receive funding until receipts and an impact report is submitted (see Funding Phase Two).
Application forms and budget forms are released each semester, which applicants fill before an advertised deadline. The council then reviews the applications and, in the case that more information or clarifications are needed, may request to have a small meeting with the applicant(s). The council then allocates funds to each group depending on the quality of the application and the amount of money available to spend each semester.
Find out more about applications and funding in the USESF Guidelines and Procedures.
Are grad banquets and activities eligible for USESF funding?
Unfortunately, grad banquets are not eligible for funding. Under the "Events" category of funding found in the USESF Guidelines and Procedures, it states:
Events whose focus is not primarily technical will not be eligible for funding.
Therefore, since grad banquets are a non-technical event (i.e. it does not focus on academic or professional development), they are not eligible to receive reimbursement through the USESF. It is also worth noting that, in the same document, the "General Application Requirements" states:
USESF will not fund alcohol or alcohol-related costs such as security or licensing. If these costs are present, they will be removed from the budget when considering the application.
What happened to SAF?
In past years, the College of Engineering donated $20,000 annually to the Students’ Activity Fund (SAF). This fund was ran by the SESS, where students and student groups could apply for to cover costs for projects, travel tp conferences/competitions, and space refurbishment (e.g., lounge upgrades). This was distributed bi-annually by the Board of Directors, comprised of discipline society presidents and a few executive members of the SESS.
However, the SAF was dissolved because with over 20 student groups, this amount wasn't adequate to allow students to grow and strive for greater goals. Furthermore, the Board of Directors did not have any representatives from design teams, professional associations, and general unaffiliated students; this left them without any direct say in where funding was distributed.
With the USESF in place, students are now able to fund larger events, build competitive projects, and increase the accessibility of funding to individual students and their individual needs. Also, with the organization of the Council, there is better representation for design teams and unaffiliated students.
Still have questions?
If you have any concerns or uncertainties regarding applications, budgets, or the general operations of the USESF, don't hesitate to contact us.