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CSA Funding

The Council on Student Affairs, or CSA, is a subscommittee of the University Senate. CSA has an Allocations Committee that offers funding support to registered student organizations through an allocation from the Student Activity Fee.

The two types of funding sources available to student organizations from CSA are Operating Funds and Programming Funds.

Who can apply for and receive funds?

Only registered student organizations can receive funds from CSA. An organization can be in Pending, Active, or Inactive status to apply for funds, but must be in Active status to receive funds. 

The listed treasurer in the online roster is the only individual who is able access to the online application for CSA Funds via the Student Organization Management System.

All funding is available on an annual basis, resetting each year on July 1. Unused funds from one year do not roll over to the next year. The funding cycle ends on May 31 each year.

Operating Funds

Purpose: Operating Funds are intended for expenses necessary to maintain your organization through your general operations during the year.

Amount: Organizations can apply for up to $500 per year.

Application deadlines: Applications may be submitted on a rolling basis in the Student Organization Management System. There are two funding windows: July 1-November 1 and November 2-April 1. Organizations can apply in one or both windows.

Receipt of funds: Once approved, funds are provided up-front via check.

Audit submission: Operating funds audits are due by December 1 (for applications submitted July 1-November 1) and by May 1 (for applications submitted November 2-April 1). See information below regarding audits.

Use of funds: The following chart shows examples of how organizations can and cannot use Operating Funds.

Budget Category Fundable Not Fundable

Materials and events used to recruit members, announce meetings and organizational activities; including but not limited to t-shirts, banners, posters, flyers, newsletters, and website hosting. Items may be kept and utilized year after year.

Bank Charges/Dues/Legal Fees Charges associated with maintaining checking and savings accounts, costs of purchasing checks; Membership dues for the organization in its local, state, national, or international organization; fees associated with inquiries into 501C3 status and other official matters. Insufficient funds penalties, interest on loans, or costs associated with use and maintenance of a PayPal account; Intramural sports team registrations; legal fees associated with issues of misconduct
Books/Subscriptions Literature central to the organization’s purpose and readily available to the entire membership.  
Equipment/Facility Rental Charges for setup cleanup, non-refundable rain site deposit, electricity, water hook-up, etc. at OSU owned facilities; Rental of equipment. Charges, including rental, of non-OSU owned facilities; expenditures for permanent items which become property of the organization


Limited to $250

Food for recruitment or marketing events. General meetings, special or recognition dinners for members of the organization, meals when traveling
Membership Awards Plaques, certificates, non-monetary prizes, recognitions for organization members. Fuel costs or parking fees for organization members
Office Supplies Stationery, pens/pencils, paperclips, stamps for general organizational use, and other consumable items needed to conduct business. These items must be donated or discarded at the end of each academic year. Office Equipment (including but not limited to phones, copiers, computers, printers, fax machines, etc.)
Travel/Transportation Transportation and lodging costs associated with traveling to a membership or leadership retreat, regional or national conference, educational field trip and/or competition where the purpose of the program aligns with the purpose of the organization; conference registration costs; parking fees or gifts for speakers at organization meetings. Admission tickets for access to museums or other events in associated travel
Other Organizations who request funds for operating expenses that do not appear on this list and if those items are not prohibited expenditures shall be voted on by the CSA allocations committee. Expenditures designed for the financial gain or profit of the organization or individual

Above table from Student Organization Registration and Funding Guidelines.

Programming Funds

Purpose: Programming Funds are intended to support programs hosted by your organization. Programs must be on-campus and open to any Ohio State student to attend.

Amount: Organizations may apply for up to $3,000 or $4,500 per year. Organizations with Active New/Re-Established I or II status can apply for up to $3,000, and organization with Active Established status can apply for up to $4,500 per year. Completing the annual registration process leads to active status. Learn more about registration and status designations on the registration page. 

Application deadlines: The Programming Funds application has 5 specific deadlines throughout the year that are based on the program date. Late requests will not be reviewed. Applications are reviewed once the deadline passes. No advance notification can be given for early submissions, as each funding window is viewed as a collective.

Programming Funds application deadlines and notification date: 
Event Date Request Deadline Initial Notification
June 1 - August 15 April 15 May 15
August 16 - October 15 July 1 August 1
October 16 - December 31 September 1 October 1
January 1 - March 15 November 1 December 1
March 16 - May 31 February 1 March 1

Receipt of funds:  Funds are issued on a reimbursement basis upon successful completion of an audit.

Audit submission: The Programming Funds audit is due within 30 after the program date. See information below regarding audits.

Use of funds: The Program Examples document provides a sample of possible programs. The following chart shows examples of how organizations can and cannot use Programming Funds:

Budget Category Fundable* Non-fundable*

Speaker Costs

Donated time is limited to $250/hour in the budget

If your speaker is not affiliated with OSU, speaking fees, the speaker/presenter travel costs, including event parking, transportation and lodging are fundable.

If your speaker is affiliated with OSU, they may only receive a gift not to exceed a monetary value of $100.

OSU personnel/faculty speaking on a topic unrelated to OSU position or research. If gift cards are used, recipient names must be included in audit.

OSU personnel/faculty for services rendered if they are included within the services for which they are employed by the University
Entertainment DJ, artist, rental of licensed copy of film or other entertainment media.

Rental costs for non-licensed copies of films.

Entertainers that are OSU affiliated.

OSU Physical Facilities Charges for setup and cleanup, including electricity, water hook-up, tables and chairs at OSU-owned facilities; Non-refundable rain site deposits contingent upon event occurrence.

Charges, including rental, of non-OSU-owned facilities.

Parking passes for staff and faculty who are not speakers or entertainment.

Bar set-up fees.

Personnel Costs associated with providing uniformed or plain-clothes officers, EMS/Fire prevention officers, catering/event staff, or referees/officials as programming/activity may demand; Costs associated with service fees for catering. Bartender, non-essential personnel.
Equipment Rental Rental of equipment, linens, costumes not available for free from the university. Purchase of costumes, equipment or electronics, including digital cameras, software, cell phones and PDAs.
Consumable Supplies

Costs associated with consumable supplies not available for free at the university including but not limited to decorations, paper goods and plastic cutlery, flowers, building materials needed for temporary set construction, printing of tickets for a program.

Items can be kept by organization if used for other events they host within a year, but otherwise must be discarded or donated.

Costumes, props, etc.

Tickets purchased for a program.

Purchase of a permanent photo booth.

Food and Beverage 

Note: food and beverage charges per attendee should not exceed $30/person per meal

Costs associated with providing food and beverage at a program.

Events hosted in the Ohio Union and RPAC spaces must coordinate food through University Catering. CSA can pay University Catering directly/on a non-reimbursement basis.

In accordance with the Coca-Cola contract, competitive products may not be purchased or distributed.

Food and beverages will not be reimbursed if they violate your venue regulations (e.g. outside food cannot be brought into the Union without permission).

Alcohol and bartenders are not permissible expenses.


Limited to 20% of total program cost

Costs for publicizing a program with flyers, giveaway items prior to the program, posters, advertising in local media.

If gift cards are used, recipient names must be included in audit



Limited to 50% of total program cost

Costs associated with items given at the conclusion of a program. Costs associated with incentives or prizes used to publicize or promote event attendance and engagement.

Food is in this category if it is not consumed at the event, but rather given at the end of the event.

If gift cards are used, recipient names must be included in audit.

Plaques, certificates, raffles.

Items given to individual(s) at the event and are not given to all attendees


Limited to 20% of total program cost

Costs associated with apparel for all attendees, participants or volunteers at a program.

General apparel for the organization members, costume purchase.

Apparel sold as a fundraiser.

Service Travel

Limited to 50% of total program cost

Up to 50% of the transportation and lodging expenses associated with a Program that is a service project not on campus  

View the Student Organization Registration and Funding Guidelines to view the expanded information on Programming Funds.


Student organizations that receive CSA funding are required to submit a CSA Funding Audit. While organizations must meet the audit deadlines, they are welcome and encouraged to submit audits as soon as they are able.

Operating Funds audits are due by December 1 (for applications submitted July 1-November 1) or by May 1 (for applications submitted November 2-April 1). Organizations that fail to turn in an audit by the appropriate deadline will forfeit future funding and registration status. Organizations that did not receive operating funds during the fiscal year are not required to submit an operating funds audit.

Programming Fund audits are due no later than 30 calendar days after the scheduled event date. Organizations approved for programming funds will be reimbursed after submitting their audit. The items for which the organization will be reimbursed must comply with the Student Organization Registration and Funding Guidelines fundable expenses. Failure to submit programming fund audits within 30 calendar days may result in the audit being void and not reimbursable. Date changes to events must be communicated to the CSA Fiscal Coordinator to ensure funding will remain available.

Please use a copy of the appropriate form and include your receipts and documentation.
2023-2024 Operating Funds Audit Form - Submit electronically to with receipts
2023-2024 Programming Funds Audit Form - Submit electronically to with receipts

Tips for submitting audits:

  • Audited items may deviate from the original budget as submitted on the request form, as long as expenses submitted are still fundable
  • You must provide original, itemized, legible receipts that show proof of payment
    • Proof of payment is typically indicated by the last 4 digits of the payment card, and may also be demonstrated with a cancelled check or bank statement
  • Provide accurate, specific information on the vendors, amounts, and description of expenses
  • List all receipts individually on the audit form - do not subtotal any expense categories
  • For direct payment to Ohio State University vendors (e.g., Ohio Union), include invoice and write "please pay directly"
  • For reimbursement to other Ohio State University departments, please provide appropriate chartfield information
  • Do not use highlighter on thermal register receipts as this will damage the paper

Additional fiscal support and resources

CSA Funding Support

Book an appointment with a Student Organization Success Coach for 1:1 support with funding applications, usage, and audits.

Email for questions about the status of your application.

USG Funding

The Undergraduate Student Government’s Allocations Committee accepts funding requests on a rolling basis. Student organizations are eligible to apply for up to $1,500 per application and up to $3,000 per academic year. Eligible requests include speaker fees, room reservations, travel expenses, and more. You can apply at and email with any questions.

Coca-Cola Beverage Donation

Coca-Cola beverages may be donated to groups that qualify. These donations can help reduce costs for your organization when hosting events. Coca-Cola can provide donated beverages (including Dasani bottled water and Powerade) at your events, generally limited to one per person in attendance. Ice and cups are not provided. Certain major events or programs, such as Beat Michigan Week, can receive additional assistance and donations. Read more about the guidelines and request a donation by visiting the Coca-Cola Donation page.

Treasurer action items:

  • Treasurers are required to complete annual registration requirements to keep the organization in good standing/Active status, which allows the organization to receive funding support. 
  • Treasurers are the only organization member who can access the funding applications for CSA Operating and Programming Funds in the Student Org Management System.
  • Complete a Vendor Set-Up Form before receiving funding, which establishes a vendor account with the university. This allows organizations to receive checks from the university and must be on file before any funds are distributed. Here are instructions to walk you through filling out the form.
    • The form can be filled out electronically, but must be hand-signed
    • All required fields must be completed, partial forms cannot be submitted
    • Fill out the full student organization name where it says Business Name
    • Use the primary leader or treasurer's phone number
    • Enter your EIN
    • Sign, print name, and date the form
    • Return form to the Resource Room within the KBK Center for Student Leadership and Service or email directly to 
  • During officer transition, be sure to transfer ownership of the bank account to new officers as well as the EIN associated with the account.
  • Get familiar with the Student Organization Registration and Funding Guidelines, which contains full details on CSA Funding requirements.


There are many different ways to raise the funds necessary to make your organization successful. Here are some go-to steps to develop fundraising strategies:

Tax Information

Student organizations are not legal entities of the Ohio State University, and thus are not tax-exempt or nonprofit by virtue of their existence or registration as a student group. This means that fiscally, organizations may bank with any bank of their choosing and are in charge of their own tax-related responsibilities. 


An EIN stands for Employer Identification Number. Any organization who wishes to obtain funding from the university must have an established bank account, which means there must also be an EIN on file with the IRS. An EIN can be obtained from the IRS by calling 1-800-829-4933 or by applying online.

When you apply online, you will be asked to identify your organization's type of legal structure. It is recommended to select: "View Additional Types, Including Tax-Exempt and Governmental Organizations" and then "Social or Savings Club."

  • Learn more about the legal designation of a Social Club on the IRS website.
    • Information on filing annual tax returns is available from the IRS: Although they are exempt from income taxation, social clubs are generally required to file annual returns of their income and expenses with the Internal Revenue Service. In addition to filing an annual exempt organization return, social clubs may be required to file other returns and pay employment taxes. Some clubs may be required to file certain returns electronically.

Treasurers may login to the management system and click on "View Org Information" to view the EIN on file for the organization. Importantly, all treasurers can save their organization's EIN letter in the management system under the EIN section. We encourage you to do this so future treasurers have easy access to this information.

Need more information about the EIN? Can't find the EIN for your organization? Need another copy of your EIN letter? Explore more on the IRS webpage for EINs.

Non-profit status

Student organizations can apply to be considered a nonprofit, tax-exempt organization (501c3). These organizations may be subject to additional restrictions in accordance with the IRS rules and regulations. For more information on the policies associated with being a nonprofit and for more specific directions on how to apply for non-profit status, you can go to the IRS Charity/Non-Profit webpage, or review the 501C3 general information section (for educational purposes only).