Budgeting 101

The guidelines and anticipated timelines for your budget planning process are outlined by the AUS VP Finance at the beginning of the year in a memorandum. The memorandum will also outline specific expectations related to the specific year in question.

Budget planning is generally an involved process and requires several days of consultation between the VP Finance and the other executives. Discuss with your VP Events (Social)/VP Internal and your President the events, activities and initiatives your association plans to hold in the coming year.

When you have made a list of all the events you plan on holding, look at previous budgets to find out what the associated costs and revenues were for these events and initiatives. Use these preliminary figures as the building blocks of your budget. Likewise, perform independent costing: seek out estimates from vendors, view costing options online/otherwise…etc.

The budget must be presented on a standard template available from the AUS website. The template is called the “AUSB Budget.” It is split between two main sections: “Revenues” and “Expenses.” Revenues are the money that you bring in. Expenses are anything you spend money on.

You will notice that there are 5 columns on the spreadsheet. They are “Description and General Ledger Account,” “Projected,” “Allocated from FMC,” “Actual,” and “Notes.”


All budgets must be in a balanced or surplus position. No deficit budgets will be approved.

Soon after you submit your proposed budget, you will receive final departmental allocations numbers. Using these final numbers, you should update your budget accordingly and notify the VP Finance of the changes.

Once the proposed budget is approved by the VP Finance and received final approval by Legislative Council, it should be updated with every transaction (ie. fundraiser, purchase, requisition request…etc.) by the VP Finance of the respective association.

Any department wishing to update or alter its budget must receive permission from the VP Finance, the Financial Management Committee (FMC) and AUS Legislative Council before doing so. Notify the VP Finance by email before making any budget changes. 

IMPORTANT NOTE: You can NEVER use cash from your money box to pay for your expenses. You may never collect money in your personal account. If we find out, your account WILL be frozen immediately. Refer to the appropriate section for your department (Internal or External) to learn about how expenses should be paid for.

Departmental Allocations

Within 10 days of the Add/Drop period, the AUS VP Finance will inform you of the following:

  • What amount allocation your department will receive for the academic year
  • The requirements your department still need to meet in order to obtain this allocation

Each department will be allocated a base of $2.24 per student registered in the Majors/Honours concentrations. This amount is composed of a $1.49/student base fee and a $0.75/student supplement from the AUS Sustainability Fee. All departmental associations with ten (10) Arts students will receive a minimum allocation of $540.00 for the year with an additional $240.00 from the AUS Sustainability Fee.

Making a Deposit

After generating revenue for your department/organization or obtaining funds from external sources (generally sales for events, samosa, and apparel), you need to deposit these funds with the AUS. In normal operating circumstances, these collected funds would be deposited as either cash or electronic funds. This year, only Electronic deposits will be accepted. Cash deposits should not be collected.

Electronic Deposits

You may collect funds through platforms such as Stripe and Eventbrite for any sales your department is undertaking. Once your event is over, and the online sale is closed, the funds you collect will need to be deposited in a bank account. These funds must be deposited in the AUS main bank account and allocated to your department.

In order to ensure that you correct an accurate amount of funding is allocated to your department, please follow the following procedures:

  1. When setting up your Stripe/Eventbrite page, please ensure the AUS main bank account is used as the final payout account. Contact the AUS VP Finance for the AUS bank account information.
  2. Ensure Stripe/Eventbrite processing fees are passed on to purchasers and taxes are added to your registration price.
  3. Once the event/sale is over, send the AUS VP Finance a “Payout Detail” for the deposit being made. In that email, please specify which Class and GLA this revenue should be allocated to. Without this information, the funds your organization raised will be allocated to a generic budget class and GLA and will be inaccessible to your department until proof of deposit provided.

Funding Applications

There are both internal and external sources for additional funding to supplement departmental allocations.


There are four main funds under the AUS, administered by the Financial Management Committee (FMC). Applications are approved monthly by the FMC, and you can apply to these funds here on the AUS Website.

The Journal Fund

Many departmental associations publish their own journals. The money required may come from several sources including sponsors, donations, departmental allocations and the Journal Fund. The Journal Fund provides funding for an amount equal to the cost of publishing at most seventy-five (75) copies of the journal under review. The FMC tends to favour publications which are bilingual and/or published online. This fund typically contains around $18,000.

The Supplementary Fund

This fund is strictly for AUS departmental associations. The fund tends to favour applications from small departments and for inter-departmental events. To increase your chances of obtaining the full amount you requested the FMC likes to see you try to obtain revenue from multiple sources. For example, an application showing revenue from multiple fund raisers as well as other sponsors and funds will be looked at more favourably than an application with only revenue from one or two sources. This fund typically contains around $22,000.

The Special Projects Fund

This fund is similar to the Supplementary Fund, except that it is intended for use by organizations other than AUS departmental associations. These are typically SSMU Clubs and Services, or other McGill associated organizations. The fund is used to provide resources towards events/activities which would benefit Arts students outside of the umbrella of departmental associations. This fund typically contains around $11,000.

The Ethical Procurement and Sustainability Fund

The purpose of this fund is to: (1) support the implementation of the Sustainability and Ethical Procurement By-laws by reducing implementations costs for internal entities; (2) support community and student organizations advancing the mandate of the Sustainability and Ethical Procurement By-laws through community engagement, and; (3) support AUS community engagement with these organizations. While internal entities are given priority, the fund is not restricted to internal entities. This fund receives about $5000.
There are two additional AUS funds that you can apply to for funding but they operate outside of the purview of the Financial Management Committee.

The Fine Arts Council Fund

Administered by the Fine Arts Council this fund is open fund the expansion and expression of creativity on campus. This fund can be used to supplement Journal designer stipends, display/publication and artwork. The fund has a broad mandate for delivering funding. Contact the VP Communications for this fund. The FAC receives about $28 000 a year.

The Arts Undergraduate Improvement Fund

This is by far the largest fund under the AUS. It provides funding of around $280,000 annually to organizations within McGill University. This fund is open to all organizations within McGill University and proposals are considered on the basis of their benefit to Arts students. Applications are made for capital expenditures to be incurred by the organization. Applications for the AUIF fund are very detailed and specific information including product quotes must be submitted for each item on the application. The AUIF Committee usually meets in March and the deadline for applying to this fund is publicized a few weeks beforehand. Applications are generally for items such as lounge furniture, computers and other capital expenses. Sample applications are available in the appendices.


Please note that all external cheques must be made out to the Arts Undergraduate Society (AUS) and must include the specifics of who in the AUS the cheque is for.

Example: Payable to Arts Undergraduate Society, attn: SSA/Women in House

Supplemental funding for your department/organization is primarily provided by SSMU, McGill (either University-Wide or Faculty Specific), and SUS (along with other Undergraduate Societies/student unions.

Funds Provided by SSMU

Complete information (fund criteria, funding process, how to receive funding…etc.) about supplemental funding from SSMU can be found here.

Below is a list of funds currently available through SSMU:

  1. The SSMU Club Fund
  2. The SSMU Ambassador Fund
  3. The SSMU Mental Health Fund
  4. The SSMU Environment Fund
  5. The SSMU Space Fund
  6. The SSMU Equity Fund
  7. The SSMU First-Year Fund

University-Wide Funds Provided by McGill University

Complete information (fund criteria, funding process, how to receive funding…etc.) about supplemental funding from SSMU can be found by here.

Below is a list of university-wide funds/funding opportunities currently available through McGill University: 

  1. EDSS Funds: Innovation Funding
  2. Mary H. Brown Fund
  3. MAA Student Sponsorship Funding
  4. Sustainability Projects Fund (SPF) of McGill University
  5. Aboriginal Funding
  6. Funding for Students with Disabilities

The Dean of Arts Development Fund (DADF)

Provides essential funding for programs, such as internship awards, research internships, student advising, as well as numerous events, research projects, and publications proposed by students and faculty members. Learn more here.

Budget Planning Resources

AUS Budget Format

Financial Guidebook

Budget Planning Memo