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Student Fed members are inducted. Emily Blatter | Col­legian

Hillsdale College’s Student Fed­er­ation must reduce its spending to guard against future financial problems, after oper­ating at a deficit for the past several years, Trea­surer sophomore Ross Hatley said during the federation’s March 23 meeting.

This semester, the fed­er­ation has already spent its $10,000 dis­cre­tionary fund, and Hatley said he expects Student Fed to run at least a $4,000 deficit. Hatley out­lined the 2016 – 2017 budget in prepa­ration for the cre­ation of a new budget to address these financial woes in prepa­ration for the coming school year.

Student Fed has a budget of $100,000. But after it spends the money ear­marked for campus pub­li­ca­tions, senior-class expenses, fed­er­ation leader salaries, and planners, the gov­erning body only has about $10,000 per semester to fund student clubs and events.

“We’ve been spending more than our income almost every semester for the past few years,” Sophomore Rep. Thomas Ryskamp said. “We’ve been drawing into our surplus that they dis­covered some years ago, but, of course, that’s not sus­tainable, because even­tually that surplus is going to run out…Eventually someone’s going to get less money, and either we or upcoming fed­er­a­tions will have to decide who that’s going to be.”

The fed­er­ation accu­mu­lated a surplus amounting to $78,389.21 in 2013, after several decades of mis­taken accounting, Hatley said. The fed­er­ation, however, has had to dip into the surplus funds to make ends meet every semester for several years, and the deficit spending has reduced the surplus to less than half, about $30,000.

Hatley said it looks like Student Fed is incurring other costs, including phone lines con­nected to four com­puters in the Knorr Student Center. Hatley said Student Fed is inves­ti­gating how the fed­er­ation came to cover these costs.

But cutting extra­neous spending will not be suf­fi­cient to elim­inate the deficit, Hatley said. The fed­er­ation will have to cut back on its spending or run the risk of bank­ruptcy when the surplus dis­ap­pears.

The fed­er­ation could begin the process of drawing back as early as this year, Ryskamp said.

“It might happen,” he said. “It’s likely that we’ll con­tinue spending the surplus as long as we have it, but we need to, at some point, change our thinking, because we don’t have an unlimited supply of money, although it seems like it right now.”

Student Fed needs to be proactive about con­trolling the chronic deficit spending to prevent the problem from becoming dan­gerous, Freshman Rep. Matthew Mont­gomery said.

“Right now, Student Fed is in a good position, but we cannot con­tinue spending money the way we have been, even though there is no imme­diate issue,” Mont­gomery said. “I think the solution is re-eval­u­ating certain expenses that we have.”