IRA Frequently Asked Questions

What does IRA mean?

IRA stands for Instructionally Related Activities.

From where do the IRA funds come?

Students pay an IRA fee at the time of tuition payment to provide financial support for specified instructionally related activities.

What is the definition of an instructionally related activity that is acceptable for funding?

Instructionally Related Activities are experiences, external to the classroom, that enrich student life and learning. They are at least partially sponsored by an academic discipline and their content is related to that discipline's curriculum. Activities that are considered to be essential to a quality educational program and an important instructional experience for enrolled students will be considered.

Is student travel eligible for IRA funds?

Student travel will be funded only under certain conditions, and the request is approved in advance by the University Provost (or designee). Please refer to the student travel guidelines for more information.

/default/files/IRA_Student_Travel_Guidelines_20170727.pdf for more information. 

What is the criteria for receiving IRA funding?

  • The program/activity description is clearly articulated.
  • The program/activity is clearly connected to the academic mission of the division, college, and/or department, as confirmed by the appropriate Dean or Vice President.
  • There is demonstrated support from the division, college, and/or department in the form of funds, facility use, supplies, faculty advisor, faculty/staff support time, etc.
  • The program/activity is clearly affiliated with one or more identified course(s) or major(s)/minor(s), though participation in the program/activity occurs outside an organized instructional setting. Note that enrollment in a course or equivalent experience may be required for participation in an IRA, but participation in an IRA cannot be a requirement of a formal course.
  • Learning outcomes are defined for students participating in the program/activity.
  • One or more students will participate directly in the program/activity and be enriched by the experience.
  • There is evidence of, or a plan for, sound financial management of the program/activity.
  • Programs that receive revenue (ticket sales etc.) must include revenue projection in their budget request.

What types of programs/projects are eligible for IRA funding?

Radio, television, film

Costs related to the provisions of basic "hands-on" experience not provided by the state. Note: Purchase or rental of films as instructional aids shall not be included.

Music and dance performance

Costs to provide experience in individual and group performance, including recitals, before audiences, and in varied settings to familiarize students with a rich experience of the performing field.

Theatre and musical productions

Basic support of theatrical and operatic activities not only in actual performance, but in production, direction, set design, and other elements considered a part of professional training in these fields.

Art exhibits

Support for student art shows given in connection with degree programs.


The costs to support and operate online journals and publications basic to the field/discipline. Print publications that are phasing out a primarily print presence may be considered on a case by case basis with additional justification. Note: publications designed primarily to inform or entertain will not be considered for funding.

Forensics/Moot Court/Model United Nations

Activities designed to provide experience in debate, public speaking, and related programs, including travel required for a competitive debate program.

Other activities

Activities associated with other instructional areas that are consistent with purposes included in the above may be added as they are identified.

Student Assistants

Programs/projects that include funding for a student assistant(s) must include a description of the specific job duties which give students a beyond the classroom (extended) hands-on educational experience. General clerical will not be considered for funding.

Printed publications/journals

Journals that are predominantly paper may not be eligible for funding. However, If there is evidence and plan for transition and/or rationale as to why a printed publication vs online is essential the project may be considered.

Pooled and Carried Over Funding

Entire IRA budget allocations may not be pooled and carried over from year to year. This may be looked at on a case by case basis.


IRA funding may not be used for “tuitional” purposes, i.e., to support faculty positions, to pay guest faculty, guest artists, or honoraria.


IRA funding cannot be used to purchase food except as a travel per diem.


Funds may not be used to support department and college laboratories.

Unapproved Expenditures

If funds are spent on items/services other than those that are approved, the project may not be considered for future funding without justification.

Increased Budget Request

Projects that submit budget requests that are significantly larger than in previous years must include justification.

Equipment Purchase

If equipment purchase is part of the budget request, the application must include a full justification of why the equipment is necessary for the success of the program and why the purchase must be made with IRA funding. Also, information must be included that addresses storage, security, and maintenance of the equipment.

What are examples of funded IRAs at San Francisco State?

  • Art-Fine Arts Gallery
  • Art-Martin Wong UG Gallery
  • BECA-Virtual Worlds
  • Cinema Dept. Student Work Space
  • Music-Music Trips & Tours
  • Theatre-Brown Bag
  • Model Arab League
  • I.R. Model United Nations
  • Museum Studies & Sutro Collection
  • AA/Community Arts Workshop
  • AA/Chinese American History Tours
  • AA/Photo Exploration
  • CFS/D Student Showcase
  • Kinesiology Student Research Expo
  • Biology Dept. Student Projects
  • Biology/Cell & Molecular Imaging Center
  • Engineering Capstone Design
  • Physics/Astro-Planetarium Production
  • Physics/Astro-Observatory Program

Do students have a say in how their IRA fees are spent?

Students make up one-half the voting membership of, which plays a key role in deciding which IRA programs are recognized and in recommending funding for. Funding recommendations for college-associated IRA programs are based heavily on input from the student advisory committee members.

How does a program/project receive IRA support?

Calls for IRA budget requests go out every December. Review of applications by the IRA Advisory Committee is completed in early February. If the budget request meets all criteria, the IRA Advisory forwards recommendations to SFAC for further endorsement before being advanced to President for action.

Who serves on the IRA advisory committee?

  • ASI President - Chair
  • Three additional students, nominated by the ASI President
  • Two Academic Senate members
  • Two Provost appointees (1 as Co-Chair)

Who has the final word on recognition and funding decisions?

The University President has final approval on all decisions relating to IRA.