Ohio University offers financial aid to students serving as president, vice president and treasurer on Student Senate.
Student Senate President Megan Handle receives a full-ride scholarship, and Vice President Isaac Davis and Treasurer Reagan Farmer are given a scholarship worth half their tuition for the 2023-24 academic year.
Typically, the scholarship would go directly into the executive members’ student bursar accounts, and the money would be untouchable; however, Handle and Farmer each receive a reimbursement from their Student Senate scholarships.
Handle and Farmer are both students in OU’s Honors Tutorial College and already receive full-ride scholarships for tuition.
Farmer said the reimbursement she and Handle receive is not a part of their salary, as it is considered tuition, but it’s overage money.
The overage checks Farmer receives from Senate go toward purchasing textbooks for class and paying rent, she said.
Farmer is also a part of OU’s varsity softball team and receives an athletic scholarship. She said the checks that come from the university help her tremendously, but she justifies getting reimbursed because her duties are similar to a job.
“For Student Senate executives, we have 12 office hours a week that we have to serve, along with meetings with administration and then our general body meetings.” Farmer said. “This is a job that we're doing. It certainly helps out tremendously to be reimbursed in a way that shows the amount of work that we're giving.”
Serving as Senate’s president comes with an immense number of responsibilities, including sitting on multiple university committees, creating legislation, running general student body meetings and working alongside university executive faculty members, Handle said.
Handle agrees with Farmer that being an executive member of Senate is a full-time job.
“I use (the money) to pay rent,” Handle said, admitting she has three jobs working toward her expenses.
Davis is a transfer student from Ashland University, where he received scholarship aid. Once he came to OU, not all his financial aid was transferred. With the scholarship from Senate, he said he can worry less about his academic finances and focus more on his role as vice president.
Currently, Senate has about $38,000 in its senate total. The money in the senate total is accessible through Bobcat Connect, and commissions can request to use this money through Farmer to program events. Each commission has a discretionary budget of $500 that they can pull from.
Senate also uses funds through a process called budget resolution. Budget resolutions are funds that senate members spend within Senate. Commissions fill out a legislation form for the budget committee to review its legislation, and the funding is voted on at Senate’s general meeting.
Senate is planning a retreat for Saturday, and money out of the budget resolution will account for any needed supplies, Farmer said.
The senate total account is not connected to the money it’s executive members receive for tuition.
All three students agree the financial help provided through their roles in Senate helps tremendously in easing any financial worries, which makes them more comfortable in their positions.
“It's nice that the school is able to financially support me and take that financial pressure off of me, so I'm able to better perform in this role,” Davis said.