Student Association Budget

Seeking greater transparency, SA releases its first annual report, showing $10 revenue in student dues for every $1 in corporate sponsorship.

Steve Hind, Managing Editor, looks at the recently released first ever HBS Students Association Annual Report

Steve HindIn a move aimed at greater transparency, the HBS Students Association, for the first time in recent memory, released its Annual Report on November 10, although budget information in the report shows the SA raises $10 from student dues for every $1 it raises from corporate sponsors.

In the report, Co-Presidents Linda Li and Nonso Maduka wrote that they released it because, “We believe in a Student Association that is clear and transparent about what we do and how we do it.”

The report included, also for the first time, a high-level breakdown of the SA’s $1.3m budget. It shows that 33% of the SA’s revenue is projected to come from near-compulsory student dues, while just 3%, or $39,000 is budgeted from seven sponsors including Bain and Company and Samsung.

The remainder comes from sales of event tickets and products. The SA is prohibited by HBS policy from soliciting or receiving donations from alumni.

Student dues were increased to their current level of approximately $230 per student from $100 per student in 2013.
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Nonso explained that this move was taken with ‘strong’ support from the HBS administration, following dues having been fixed at $100 since 2006. The extra funds are used to subsidize the cost of events, Nonso said, “in an effort to increase financial inclusivity”. He added that the change, “has been shown to [increase financial inclusivity],” by reducing the ticket prices for less financially advantaged students.

The SA, Linda said, “have done a substantial amount of work to increase the number of companies we reach out to as well as the amounts we ask for, and will continue to do so.” Nonetheless, Linda says the 2014-15 sponsorship budget of $39,000 is “based on previous years’ sponsorship amounts.”

Linda rejected the suggestion that a reliable income stream of $430,000 p.a. in dues discouraged the SA from seeking as much money as it could in corporate sponsorships. “Regardless of how much dues are,” she said, “the SA Chief Development Officers work to raise as much money from corporate sponsorships as possible.”