By: Nicole Kalache and Samantha Cortes
The Business and Finance Committee is one of Long Beach State’s most prominent organizations for aiding student-run operations by providing grants for students to travel to academic conferences, complete research projects and operate student organizations.
The BFC is a student-run branch of Associated Students, Inc. headed by Vice President of Finance Mitali Jain. During their meetings every first and third Tuesday of the month, the committee makes decisions regarding the organization’s annual budget and ways to allocate funds for student activities.
Students who pay the $68 ASI fee in tuition each semester can apply for the student travel grant, research grant and organization grant.
“Students pay us and we’re giving the fee back to you,” said Jain. “I want students to know it and feel like they can use it as a resource. This is essentially your money.”
The student travel grant is available to students interested in attending or called to present their research at an academic conference.
Students who present can be reimbursed up to $500 for transportation and conference fees in the continental U.S. Student attendees can be reimbursed for their conference fees, which can be up to $400, according to Jain.
“I don’t want students to want to go to a conference and before registering to feel that ‘Oh, I don’t have the money to go, so I’m just gonna skip on it,'” said Jain.
To qualify for the grant, the student must provide an invitation to the conference, go through a screening and show proof of attendance to said event. Jain reviews all applications and students will be asked to present their requests to the BFC for approval.
Jain said that nearly all requests are accepted if they do not violate Assembly Bill 1887, a California law prohibiting funding travel to states that discriminate based on sexual orientation and gender identity.
The research grant is available to students working on a research or creative project under an LBSU faculty member.
Students can be reimbursed up to $800 each semester for materials and other costs related to their research. Students working on a thesis or dissertation are also eligible for up to $500 per semester.
Applicants must submit a description of the research, the duration of the research and the intended cost of aid needed.
The research grant has funded student projects related to racial discrimination, mandatory reporting of abuse and dance performance.
All clubs and organizations registered with Student Life and Development are eligible for the organization grant. The yearly grant can cover the cost of printed materials, rental equipment, refreshments, and other necessary supplies.
The BFC also wants students to be aware of the Spring Grant that can be redeemed next school year.
The Spring Grant allocation, which has no funding limit, is also open for student clubs and organizations to apply. Large events on campus, such as graduation and Pow Wow, were all funded by the Spring Grant.
Due to inflation and the increase in travel costs, the BFC will meet on Tuesday to discuss ways in which they will increase funding for the three grants. Jain is hopeful that the motion will pass.
“Our job is to hear student needs and to also act on student needs. Needs are evolving as time changes and ASI is here to work on them,” said Jain.