Frequently Asked Questions
To support the initiatives of Registered Student Organizations (RSOs), Vanderbilt can establish an account for the RSO called a “center”. Funds in the organization centers are available for use by the organization, subject to University policies and procedures. Information about using the center is outlined through the FAQ’s below.
FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
- What is my organization’s Center Number?
- How does my Organization get Funding?
- How do I pay for expenses associated with my organization?
- How do I get access to my RSO’s center and financial transactions?
- How does my organization apply for Activity Fee funding?
- We want to do a Fundraiser or solicit area businesses. How can we do that?
- What role does my advisor play?
- I need to do a budget. Where do I get started?
- Are my purchases tax exempt?
1. What is my organization’s Center Number?
A center number is a 10-digit code (generally 4-46-999-xxxx) used to hold and facilitate access to a student organizations funding. Center numbers can be found in the Documents section on each organization’s Anchor Link page. Knowing your student organization’s center number is the key to utilizing organization funds.
Newly registered RSOs are eligible to receive $250 in start-up funding once they are approved as an organization. If approved, the funds will be directly transferred once the RSO is assigned a center number.
Activity Fee (AcFee)
- As part of standard tuition and fees, each Vanderbilt student pays an activity fee. The fee collected helps support RSOs. A portion of the Activity Fee is allocated to RSOs through the Vanderbilt Student Government (VSG) AcFee Committee. RSOs are eligible to apply for AcFee funding each spring semester for the following academic year.
- All student organizations are split into six subcategories: Arts, Cultural, Programming, Religious, Service, and two subcommittees for Special Interests. Make sure you are listed as an officer on Anchor Link to keep up with all the updates during the process. Information will be provided through the Anchor Link Leaders listserv. NOTE: to be added to the Anchor Link listserv, please fill out the appropriate form on the Student Organizations & Anchor Link page.
- For the most updated information on AcFee allocation and for deadlines on application submissions, please go to the VSG AcFee website.
- A limited amount of additional AcFee funding is available for new or unique initiatives from existing RSOs or for new organizations not able to apply for AcFee through the AcFee Contingency Fund. The form is available on the VSG Anchor Link page.
- VSG Co-sponsorship: VSG has a limited amount of co-sponsorship funding available to RSO’s for program initiatives. Forms are available on the VSG Anchor Link page.
- Graduate Student Council (GSC): offers a limited amount of funding for graduate student organizations. Contact the GSC President at firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.
Depositing Funds into the RSOs Center
- An organization may collect money through fundraisers, dues, ticket sales, or similar activities. Funds (cash and checks) collected in this manner should be deposited as soon after collection as possible. Organization monies should not be kept in your personal possession.
Making deposits into your RSOs Center
- Fill out the RSO Deposit Form here: RSO Deposit Form 2015-2016
- Print 2 PDF versions of the form. The first form should be submitted with your deposit and the second form will be initialed by the person receiving the deposit and returned to you for your records.
- Bring the form to the Sarratt front desk between 8:30 am and 4 pm (Mon-Fri) to give to Mark Leners (email@example.com) for processing.
- All checks should be made out to Vanderbilt University; in the memo line please write the name of the RSO.
- When a check is being deposited, you will need to write the following in the “Endorsement” area on the back of the check: Name of the RSO, Account Number, RSO Center Number (10-digit center number).
- Mark Leners will keep one deposit form and initial the second one for your records as proof of deposit.
- After 4:00 PM staff at the Sarratt front desk can initial your RSO Deposit Form and place the deposit in the safe for processing the next business day.
3. How do I pay for expenses associated with my organization?
Organizational funds can be used to pay for expenses related to organization activities. This includes expenses from within Vanderbilt and expenses associated with outside vendors. Expenses are generally associated with organization events, meetings and programs.
Student organizations can pay for things in three primary ways:
- Procurement Card (P-card): A P-card is a credit card issued by Vanderbilt for the purpose of paying for expenses related to Vanderbilt departments and student organizations. P-cards may be checked out through a variety of offices. Please contact your advisor to identify the affiliated office for the student organization to check out a P-Card. If you have any questions, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org
For a list of office contacts responsible for the P-card check-out process, view P-Card Office Contacts
- Check Request: A check request is a form (available in Sarratt 207 or 339) used to pay outside vendors, reimburse an individual expense, or reimburse non-travel related expenses:
- Fill-out the check request completely: state the date, the purpose, and the location of the event for which the purchase was made
- When preparing a check request an account number needs to be assigned to the amount being paid. Account numbers can assist organizations with the process of defining their expenses.
- Below is a listing of the most frequently used revenue and expense accounts.
- Attach the Invoice and W-9 (both required).
- Have the check request signed by the student organization’s advisor.
- Bring completed check request to Sarratt 207 or Sarratt Front Desk for processing.
Check Request to pay for Speakers and Performers
- When bringing a speaker or performer to campus a student organization must utilize the Vanderbilt Performers Agreement template (available from Annetta Pickett in Dean of Students Arts & Campus Events).
- Once the agreement has been completed and signed by both Vanderbilt procurement and the performer a check request will be utilized to facilitate payment.
- Requests for speakers or performers should be made at least 3 weeks in advance.
- Travel Reimbursement – Student Travel Form
- Reimbursement for travel related expenses is facilitated with the use of the Student Travel Form available in Sarratt 207.
- A travel form should be completed prior to any student organization trip.
- Upon completion a student requesting reimbursement of travel expenses should work with their advisor or Dean of Students contact to complete the travel reimbursement section of the Student Travel Form.
- Completion of the travel form requires the inclusion of itemized receipts for all expenses being reimbursed.
4. How do I get access to my RSO’s center and financial transactions?
eDog is a window into the Vanderbilt accounting system. RSO Presidents, Treasurers and Advisors will be given access to eDog and can review the organization’s financial information. In order to learn more about eDog and how to use it, click HERE
5. How does my organization apply for Activity Fee funding?
- RSOs are eligible to apply for Activity Fee funding in the spring semester of each academic year.
- The funding granted in the spring is applicable the following academic year (year in which the funding would be used).
- Application information and deadlines is available on the AcFee website.
- Groups are required to keep diligent records (including tracking attendance through Anchor Link events) of each expenditure for each event in order to apply for AcFee.
- AcFee Funding is allocated to RSOs at the beginning of each semester.
- Organizations receive half in the fall semester and half in the spring semester.
NOTE: Funding can only be distributed to student organizations with a center number.
- In general, AcFee is allocated to student organizations that sponsor events open to the entire campus.
- For more detailed criteria, go to the AcFee Committee Anchor Link page and view the “Documents” section.
6. We want to do a Fundraiser or solicit area businesses. How can we do that?
Information about fundraising and the solicitation of area businesses can be found in the Student Handbook. You may fill out a proposal for your fundraising initiative on the Student Orgs & Anchor Link page under “Forms”.
7. What role does my advisor play?
RSO advisors provide institutional knowledge about University policies, guidance on leading your student organization, and serve as the authority and authorizing signature on financial matters in your organization. They should be consulted for event planning, making purchases, and advice on the overall goals of the organization. Advisor approvals are needed on the following :
- P-card: Your advisor must email the appropriate person in order to request use of the p-card on your behalf 24 hours prior to your need to use it
- Check Request Forms: Your advisor must sign check requests and travel forms for your organization.
- RSO Registration and Center number Creation: Your advisor must sign-off in agreement to your organizations constitution and affirm that your group will comply with University policy, including the Nondiscrimination Policy.
8. I need to do a budget. Where do I get started?
When considering your budget for the year, keep the following in mind:
- Be sure that your programming initiatives align with the mission of your organization.
- Be fully aware of how much funding the RSO has in the center at all times.
- Monitor expenditures in edog and forecast additional expenses at all times.
When developing event budgets, keep the following in mind:
- Some rooms are free but may have charges for housekeeping, room set-up, A/V equipment, etc.
- Most outside spaces are free, but you may be charged for set-up, depending on the event needs.
- Do not depend solely on co-sponsorships to fund events.
- If the RSO receives AcFee funding, be sure you are aware of what your organization committed to spend in the AcFee application.
9. Are my purchases tax exempt?
As an RSO, your organization is considered to be a part of Vanderbilt and as such is afforded use of Vanderbilt’s tax exemption. In order to make purchases, you must physically have the Tax Exempt Certificate with you at the time of the purchase whether you are using your own money or the p-card. If you are using your own money, please note that you will not be reimbursed for taxes you paid on supplies for your organization. A link to the Tax Exempt Certificate is here: Tax Exempt Certificate