• AS Funding

Budget Types

Student Travel & Academic Research (STAR)

The purpose of Student Travel & Academic Research (STAR) is to encourage the intellectual development of individual CSUN students, or small groups, by partially funding costs associated with scholarly work. Projects may include original research or other academic work, such as papers, posters, performance pieces and presentations at academic or professional conferences or competitions.

Up to $3,000 is available for small group academic research projects, and, typically, up to $600 per person. The following are hypothetical examples of eligible research projects.

  • Thesis research or projects
  • Senior projects, which may include interviews, field trips or animation
  • Film, screenwriting, play, workshop, musical work or performance projects
  • Scientific and quasi-scientific study or experiment
  • Research projects relating to one’s academic discipline

Up to $600, or a maximum of $6,000 for as many as ten persons, is available for travel to academic conferences. Examples of covered expenditures include conference registration fees, airfare, hotel and ground transportation. Students must submit proof (invitation or receipt) that he or she will be presenting or speaking at the conference.

STAR funding is available on a first-come, first served basis. There is not an annual application process. Currently enrolled students may submit requests for STAR funding throughout the academic year at least one month in advance. Retroactive funding is not permitted.

Instructionally Related Activity (IRA)

Each CSUN student pays $19 per semester for the Instructionally Related Activity (IRA) fee. The IRA fee provides funding for course-related projects or activities that extend beyond those funded through the State University Fee.

These are some excerpts from the definition of the IRA fee found in the CSUN policy:

  • It must be sponsored by an instructional department.
  • It must be integrally related to the formal instructional offerings.
  • It must be directly associated with one or more courses offered for credit by the sponsoring department.
  • It may not fund independent study courses.
  • The program must involve enrolled students in significant out-of-class activity, which results in a planned product, such as competition or performance before an audience, a display of material of instructional value to the university community, or a written publication available to students of the university.
  • It may only be used to support programs that meet the definition of instructionally related activities and fall into the approved categories of intercollegiate athletics, publications, forensics, music, drama and dance performance, Model United Nations and art exhibits. 

While current IRA allocations tend to focus on activities affiliated with intercollegiate athletics and the Mike Curb College of Arts, Media, and Communication, the fund has also supported required class projects, field trips and internship-type experiences in other arenas. 

All disciplines are welcome. While AS has a tangential relationship to the IRA fee, we encourage faculty to seek IRA funding to enhance the student educational experience.

The funding cycle and the website application focus on the annual allocation process. However, allocations are permitted during the subsequent year when a modest amount of funds remain available. 

Let us know if we can assist you in putting forth a funding proposal for the coming academic year.

More information on the IRA is available on the Academic Resources & Planning website

Unassigned Contingency Account (Supplemental Funding)

Half of the funds not spent in any given year roll over to the following year’s budget into an AS resource called unassigned contingency, or supplemental funding.

Existing or new department budget areas may request supplemental funding from unassigned contingency through the Finance Committee and senate. The request process is defined in Article V of the AS constitution.

To apply for supplemental funding or read more about the request process, visit the Funding Process section.

Funding Comparison

Use the common questions below to compare our three categories of funding: academically related reserves account (STAR), instructionally related activity (IRA) and unassigned contingency (supplemental funding).

Who is funded?


  • STAR: Individual students or small groups
  • IRA: Academic course projects
  • Unassigned contingency: Chartered student organizations

Who decides?

  • STAR: AS Chair of Finance for standard amounts; AS Finance Committee and Senate for larger amounts.
  • IRA: IRA Board recommends to campus president
  • Unassigned Contingency: AS Chair of Finance for standard amounts; AS Finance Committee and Senate for larger amounts.

Tied to a course?

  • STAR: Generally, yes (requires faculty oversight)
  • IRA: Must
  • Unassigned contingency: Rarely

Independent study?

  • STAR: Yes
  • IRA: Never
  • Unassigned Contingency: Rarely

Competition travel?

  • STAR: Yes
  • IRA: Yes
  • Unassigned Contingency: Yes

Cover research/equipment cost?

  • STAR: Yes (Up to $500 per student or $2,000 for group projects)
  • IRA: Yes
  • Unassigned contingency: Rarely

Conference travel?

  • STAR: Only if presenting, up to six students (up to $600 each or half of actual cost)
  • IRA: Rarely
  • Unassigned contingency: Yes, up to two students (each up to $500 each or half of actual cost)


AS Chair of Finance
USU Southwest wing
(818) 677-2477

Diane Stephens
Academic Resources
University Hall 270
(818) 677-5929

AS Unassigned Contingency
AS Chair of Finance
USU Southwest wing
(818) 677-2477