Grant Policies

Minimum Requirements For Applying for a SAO Grant

Applicant Requirements

  • The applying group must be a University of Minnesota Department, Registered Student Organization (RSO) or Campus Life Program (CLP) that is currently registered and in good standing with the Student Group Services.
    • Groups in progress of the new or expired registration processes cannot apply for grants until they have completed registration.
    • Currently registered groups will not receive funding until the re-registration process has been completed.
    • Any tentatively awarded grants will be forfeited for student groups that have not completed re-registration prior to the event date.
    • Only student group officers listed in the student group’s roster in Gopherlink may represent the student group. This includes being listed as an applicant, signing all grants related documentation, completing required training, and attending any required meetings. Both the primary and the secondary applicant are responsible for the completion of all financial obligations and meeting all deadlines.
  • The University of Minnesota is committed to the policy that all persons shall have equal access to its programs, facilities, and employment without regard to race, color, creed, religion, national origin, sex, age, marital status, disability, public assistance status, veteran status, sexual orientation, gender identity, or gender expression. SAO Grant funds will not be awarded to organizations or programs that do not adhere to this policy.
  • Registered Student Organizations (RSOs) must operate their own bank account, separate from a parent group/organization. Campus Life Programs (CLPs) must operate from an EFS chart string that is unique to their student organization.
  • Applications that violate grant, student group, or University policies will immediately be denied funding.
  • All decisions made by the SAO Grants Team are final. No appeals will be permitted.

Timeline Requirements

  • Student groups may apply for grants with event dates that fall between the University’s fiscal year - July 1, 2023 and June 30, 2024.
    • Events applied for in one fiscal year may not be pushed back into the next fiscal year.
  • Events or projects must occur as outlined in the grant application due date listing (opens in a new tab) in order to be eligible for funding. Retroactive funding is not available.
  • Issues that arise with securing vendor documentation or changes in any approved event logistics should be immediately communicated to the Grants Assistant at (opens in a new tab).

Event and Budget Requirements

  • Any changes to the original application, the event requested, or the pre-event budget must be emailed to the Grants Assistant at (opens in a new tab) for approval.
  • Two budgets are required for the process:
    • A pre-event budget to be submitted in the group’s application. This included all projected expenses including costs not requested through the SAO Grant.
    • A post-event budget must be submitted in the post-event paperwork. This includes all expenses including costs not requested for SAO Grant funding and all income brought in specifically for this event.
  • Unallowable expenses for Student Activities Office grants are outlined at (opens in a new tab).
  • Grant funding is intended to support student group programs and special events that are consistent with the mission of the student group.
  • Grant requests must total at least $100.
    • The individual events in a series may be less than $100, as long as the total amount for the entire series is more than $100
  • Grants may not fund more than the total cost of the event. If total event expenses are less than the amount awarded, the student group will be required to return the overage.
    • Tickets may be sold for an event, as long as the revenue is used solely to fund the event and not to generate a profit for the group.
    • All income made from a grant-funded event must be included in the post-event budget.
    • All external sources of income outside of SAO grants used to execute the event must be included in the post-event paperwork
  • Student groups may be awarded no more than $10,000 per academic year through SAO grants.
    • Events with multiple groups will have the award split evenly in their total for the year. One group will be responsible for receiving the grant award.
  • Groups may request event series (multiple events with the same event type) on one application.
    • Event series examples include monthly lunch and learn events, speaker series, workshops, etc.
  • Groups may request for multiple day events. This can be a themed week with different types of events contained within a timeframe.
    • Examples of multiple day events include conferences, celebration weeks, etc.
  • All on-campus events must only serve Coca-Cola products. Off-campus events funded by Coca-Cola grants must be Coca-Cola products. A list of Coca-Cola products can be found on the Coca-Cola Brand Sheet (opens in a new tab).
    • Exceptions may be made for beverages made on-site or made by a licensed caterer.
  • Certain grant initiatives require that eligible events be "open to all students". In order to be considered "open to all students", the event must take place on campus or digitally and the grant application must identify the following:
    • Publicity efforts reaching all corners of the University campus, beyond the buildings dominated by a specific major or group of students.
    • Educational and event goals identify specific ways all students would benefit from attending.
    • Realistic expectation that students outside the targeted major or group will attend.
  • Groups that receive funding are required to be the sole responsible party for planning, financing, and executing the approved funded event. Groups found to be “fronting” for another student group or external organization will be required to return the full grant award to SAO.
    • Groups found to be “fronting” will be required to pay the external rate for University venues.
  • Event expenses must align with all University policies and procedures, as well as local, state, and federal laws and regulations.
    • Misuse of grant funds may result in an impact in the student group status.

Partnership Grant Requirements

  • Grants that indicate that there are multiple student groups partnering on an event must demonstrate how each group is contributing to the event’s success and co-creating the event together.
  • Solely providing funding or minimal support to the event planning process will not be considered a partnership.
  • Partnerships grant proposals must list a representative from each partnering group.

Grant Criteria

Minimum Criteria

The Grants Team must say yes to all four questions in order for the grant application to be tentatively funded.

  1. Does the proposal demonstrate how the event: promotes student development, enhances diversity, equity, and inclusion, and/or benefits the campus community?
    1. Student development is defined as the growth, progression and/or increase in capabilities as a result of engaging in activities that develop and demonstrate achievement in several areas, as outlined by the Office for Student Affairs.
    2. Diversity is about understanding and honoring the ways people are unique. It includes the incredible variety that exists from one person to another. This variety can come from traits like race, sex/gender, gender identity, color, ability, age, and sexual orientation. Things like appearance, body size, culture, national origin, education and economic background also play a key role in informing who we are and how we think.
    3. Equity is about fairness and providing everyone with the resources they need to be successful. This includes a guarantee of fair treatment, access, opportunity, and advancement for all individuals while working to identify and eliminate barriers to full participation.
    4. Inclusion is defined as providing a welcoming and respectful environment where the unique qualities and interests of all individuals and communities are embraced and celebrated. This ensures that everyone has equitable access to opportunities, benefits, and services by creating environments of mutual respect where everyone is valued and supported.
    5. Benefits the campus community is defined as building community or sharing knowledge within and beyond your own student group.
  2. Does the proposal explain the event in clear and concise detail?
  3. Does the proposal contain a complete and detailed budget?
  4. Does the proposal demonstrate how the event aligns with the group's mission and/or goals?

Grant Initiative Criteria

If minimum criteria are met, the Grants Team reviews Grant Initiative Criteria to determine eligibility for funding. Criteria for each grant initiative is outlined below.

Coke Activity Grant Criteria

  • Is the applicant a registered student group?
  • Is the group looking to host an on-campus or virtual activity, program, or special event that is open to all University of Minnesota Twin Cities students?

Coke Development Grant Criteria

  • Is the applicant a registered student group?
  • Is the group seeking to host or participate in a developmental opportunity that benefits the University community, provides a service to the broader community, or enhances the student group's performance?
  • If attending a conference, does the application include a plan to share information with the broader campus community?

Administrative Grant Qualification

  • Is this group a Registered Student Organization (RSO)?
  • Is the group receiving funding from another University of Minnesota administrative unit(s) for this event/initiative?
  • Is the group seeking funding to host or participate in activities, programs, or special events that promote student development?
  • If attending a conference, does the application include a plan to share information with the larger campus community?

Maroon Grant

  • Are the applicant(s) a registered student group(s)?
  • Is at least one applicant a non-Student Services Fees receiving group?
  • Are there two or more partnering student groups? (only for partnership grants)
  • If a partnership, have they indicated how each of the partners will participate in the event planning and implementation? (only for partnership grants)
  • Is the event held on campus?
  • Is this event open to all University of Minnesota Twin Cities students?
  • Have efforts been made to keep the overall event cost low?

Student Events and Entertainment Grant

In addition to funding, this grant allows groups to be featured on the SAO Events Calendar. Up to 10 events per year can be accepted.

  • Is the applicant a registered student group?
  • Is the event held on campus?
  • Is the event social in nature (not academic), open to all students, and is capable of hosting 200+ attendees?
  • Is the event being planned in collaboration with Student Events and Entertainment? (if so, not eligible for this grant)
  • Does the proposed event date conflict with the stated blackout dates? (if so, not eligible for this grant)
  • Does the event proposal showcase a high level of cultural context or subject matter knowledge in order to respectfully execute?

Contact the Grants Assistant at (opens in a new tab) with general questions. Student groups are encouraged to schedule a general advising meeting with their assigned Student Group Service Advisor at (opens in a new tab).