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The Gertrude C. Ford Ole Miss Student Union
The University of Mississippi

Establishing an Off-Campus Banking Account

The Ole Miss Student Union has works with local banks and credit unions to establish a process for Registered Student Organizations (RSOs) to open checking accounts to manage their organizations’ finances. Please review the following information for procedures for RSOs to open off-campus accounts. In order to open an account, you will need to get a letter from the Ole Miss Student Union to verify your organization’s status at the University of Mississippi. Email to request a letter.

Because RSOs are responsible for managing their own finances, it’s important to establish financial controls to limit the risk of mismanaging organization funds, specifically the use of funds for personal gain.

Follow these guidelines to prevent mismanagement of off-campus accounts for student organizations.

Examples of easy-to-implement financial controls:

  • Require double endorsement of expenses
    • Requiring two (2) signatures on checks prevents purchases by check without the consent of a second student organization officer or advisor.
    • You can give your president, treasurer, and UM faculty/staff advisor to serve as signature authorities.
    • Paper checks are used less often these days in favor of ATM or check cards. As a result, double endorsement of all expenses is difficult to enforce. However, try to use paper checks when possible to avoid people abusing cards.
  • Separate financial duties
    • The student organization financial officer should reconcile the bank’s financial statements regularly.
    • While the financial officer could theoretically be the second signer on a check, they should not be the primary purchasing officer or have access to a debit or credit card. If so, another person needs to reconcile the bank statements.
    • Ask your advisor for assistance in reviewing financial statements regularly.
  • Use a central mailing address
    • Student organizations can use their campus mailing address to receive bank statements and notifications. This way, statements and other notifications that might identify financial mismanagement cannot be easily hidden from the student organization’s membership.
    • Checks and paper statements are becoming increasingly rare. If statements are being emailed or require online access, multiple recipients or users should be authorized.
  • Keep records public
    • Purposeful mismanagement of funds is difficult to conceal when financial records are made public or readily available to the student organization’s members. Public records let members question all expenses, which virtually guarantees generally accepted use of the organization’s resources and protects against prolonged collusion.
  • Define consequences for embezzlement
    • Address embezzlement in their your organization’s constitution or bylaws. Include:
      • Definitions
      • Methods for policing
      • Consequences for breaking the rules
    • By doing so, the student organization states its intentions to police financial management of organization funds. This acts as a deterrent and leaves no ambiguity about the risk of being caught. The point is to deter the activity and outline a course of action in the rare event embezzlement occurs.
  • Tax Identification Number
    • Most bank accounts are required to have a tax identification number or social security number associated with them.
    • Student organizations are NOT eligible to use the University of Mississippi’s tax ID number for the purpose of setting up a student organization bank account.
    • It is recommended that the organization apply for an Employer Identification Number (EIN) from the IRS for use in the bank’s tax reporting requirements. Steps are listed below!
  • Remove your information from accounts when you leave
    • When you are no longer associated with the student organization, due to graduation or any other reason, be sure to communicate with the bank and have your personal information removed from any accounts. If you don’t remove yourself from the accounts, you can be held responsible for financial obligations.
    • Transferring your account status to a current organization member ensures a smooth transition for the organization.

Applying for an Employer Identification Number (EIN) with the IRS

A Tax ID Number or EIN (Employer ID Number) is like a social security number for your organization. Student organizations are often in situations that require a Federal Tax ID Number (opening an organizational bank account, conducting fundraisers, etc.). Registered student organizations are not permitted to use the University’s tax identification number; therefor they are required to obtain their own EIN.

The purpose of the EIN is so the IRS will not make any of an organization’s members personally responsible for taxes on revenue that the organization has earned. To get a Tax ID number, you may contact the IRS and request a Form SS-4 (Application for Employer Identification Number) or visit their Web site in order to request an EIN, see the information below for the steps related to requesting an EIN through the IRS.

Only University departments, offices, and University sponsored organizations may use the University of Mississippi’s tax ID number. An organization wishing to apply for tax-exempt status must realize it is a complex and cumbersome process. An attorney specializing in this area is probably necessary because the laws and procedures written for qualifying as a tax-exempt organization are confusing and constantly changing. If a student organization is qualified for tax-exempt status, it most likely will be covered under 501(c)(3) or 501(c)(7) sections in the IRS tax code and would file a form 1023.

The application process will take a minimum of six months, but may last more than year before a tax-exempt certificate is issued. Apply for an EIN Online. The following steps were written to assist a registered student organization with applying for an EIN online. If you have any technical issues or have questions regarding the form, please refer to the IRS’ help and support services.

Funding for Registered Student Organizations through ASB

As a Registered Student Organization, funding is available through the Associated Student Body Student Activity Fund.

To be eligible for funding, Registered Student Organizations must be:

  • Registered with the Student Union;
  • In good fiscal & judicial standing with the University of Mississippi and ASB;
  • Active for at least 30 days;
  • Must not have any outstanding debts to ASB;
  • The President & Treasurer must attend an ASB Funding Training;
  • Funding requests must be submitted before deadlines.