History of IRA Programs

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The Associated Student Activities Fee recognized in the 1950’s. 

The Associated Student Activities Fee was established in the 1950’s.  During the 1960’s Chico’s student population was growing at a rate of approximately 1,500 students a year, with the activity fee dollars administered by the Associated Students to fund Athletics, Music, Theatre, Model U.N., and Forensics.  (These programs are now part of the many programs currently funded by IRA).  In the late 1960’s, early 1970’s, many more programs were introduced to the campus.  With many new programs applying for funding, the budget allocations became more and more competitive.

During the Vietnam War the Bac Thai Hospital, located in North Vietnam, was bombed.  Using student fee dollars, the Associated Students Board of Directors sent a donation to rebuild the Bac Thai Hospital.  At the time of the donation, State Senator Ray Johnson’s son was a prisoner of war in Vietnam.  Senator Johnson felt strongly that student fee dollars not be used for political reasons, so he drafted a bill (AB 3116) in the Legislature establishing the Instructionally Related Activities Student Funded Programs, designating these funds be used to pay for all traditional (co-curricular) activities.  IRA dollars are considered State Trust funds and are allocated by the State University and College System.  Athletics could not be funded from these State funds.

Instructionally Related Activities (IRA) program established.

In 1974 the IRA was established at Chico State and a coordinator was appointed.  The coordinator’s main responsibility was to manage the budget, establish a marketing program, establish a box office, and to oversee existing as well as new programs. 

In 1976-1977 The Board of Trustees of the California State University and Colleges formally established IRA.  Authority to fund programs in AB 3116 included an athletic fee and gave authority to the University to collect a fee.

In the late 1980’s a change in the IRA allocations process was established.  Cost Centers were created, shifting the way the IRA dollars would be allocated.  Instead of the dollars going directly to the individual programs, the dollars went to the colleges, i.e., cost centers.  Each college’s dean assumed responsibility to distribute program dollars according to their college’s internal needs.  A business service fee was established.  The cost centers also assumed responsibility for their own program expenses.

In 1994, state funding was eliminated for the Athletic Program.  The CSU, Chico students voted to support athletics with a special fee, collected in conjunction with the IRA fee.

In May, 2002 a student referendum passed to increase the Special Athletic Fee.  The students voted the increase to begin for fall semester of 2002.  The increase was $14 per semester and can increase no more than $2 per year until 2009 at which time the fee increase will expire unless extended by a vote of the student body.

In April, 2004 a student referendum passed to increase the IRA Baseline Fee amount by $3 per semester effective Fall of 2004.  The increase will additionally be increased annually by a CPI not to exceed 5% starting in 2005-2006 to cover inflation.  The CPI based fee increase shall expire in 2008/2009 unless extended by a vote of the student body.

In April, 2007 a student referendum passed to continue the IRA Consumer Price Index (CPI), not to exceed 5%.  There was no further sunset date of this.

Effective with the 2008-2009 fiscal year there was a memo signed by Drew Calandrella, Vice President for Student Affairs, allowing an agreement, between, Anita Barker, Director of Athletics and Herman Ellis, Associate Vice President for Student Life to split Athletics and Recreational Sports into separate areas.

IRA General Information

  • IRA funds can be used to support performances, competitions, student newspapers and magazines, laboratory experiences as an outgrowth program of related classroom activity.
  • The IRA dollars cannot be used for grants and scholarships, or for teaching faculty. 
  • The dollars can be used for salaries in Athletics (coaches) only. 
  • Funds cannot be used to send persons to conferences to present papers. 

Yearly Review established in 1999-2000

In 1999-2000 the IRA Board reviewed 100% of the IRA programs.  Each Dean and/or Program Director appeared before the IRA Board to discuss their program, discuss the budget and program intent/goals/process, and how students were benefiting from IRA funding. 

The Board was uniformly impressed by the scope and quality of the programs supported by the IRA.  Using the information gathered, the Board adjusted some baseline funding, augmenting programs that had significantly expanded and decreasing funding to programs that were less active.

In 2000, the Board agreed to review one-third of all IRA programs on an annual basis.

Exemplary Performance Fund established

In 2000, the IRA created an Exemplary Performance Fund to help support national competitions or extraordinary opportunities not covered by the baseline allocations.  The Board voted to allocate 5% of the available Baseline dollars to the Exemplary Performance Fund (unless the Board votes to suspend the allocation for a specific year).

Three separate funding periods throughout the year (late fall, late winter/early spring, late spring) were established.  Programs achieving national or international recognition for competition or performance can apply for Exemplary Performance funding.  Each program is eligible to apply for up to a maximum of $5,000 total Exemplary Performance funding in any one academic year.  (Athletics is not eligible for Exemplary Performance Funds, but Club Sports are eligible for up to $5,000 total for all of Club Sports).

Work Study available to IRA programs.

Annually the IRA Board distributes Work Study dollars from the 1/3 Financial Aid set aside from student fees collected by the University.  Certified IRA programs may apply in the spring semester for funding the following fall semester.  To date, the Board has chosen to fund a portion of the available Work Study Funds in the spring and sends out a second call for requests in the fall semester.  All Certified IRA Programs can apply again at that time.  In 2004 the IRA Board voted to establish some “Baseline” type Work Study allocations for the three areas that had consistently requested and fully utilized their funds; HFA, University Box Office, and the Orion.  Those three areas will not be required to request funds in the spring semester for the following fall semester, but will be automatically allocated a set amount.  The three programs may apply for additional funds in the fall semester along with the other programs.  In 2008-2009 the Board voted to continue the Work Study Policy with no future sunset clause.  The Orion was no longer an IRA program and the Board allocated 50% of available funds to HFA and 30% of available funds to UBO.  The remaining 20% would be allocated by the Board after consideration by the request process.  This policy can be reconsidered at any time by the Board.

Updated 09/09