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 - General 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?

Independent student travel requests are managed through the College Deans offices. Please refer to the student travel guidelines 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 of 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.
  • 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. All programs are strongly encouraged to consider various revenue streams to support their program.

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 to be 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: printed 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 student travel required for a competitive 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.

IRA Funding Restrictions, Limitations and other requirements 

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. Student Assistants are to be paid the current minimum wage for the City and County of San Francisco

Printed publications/journals

Journals that are predominantly paper may not be eligible for funding. However, If there is a plan for transition and/or rationale as to why a printed publication vs online is essential, then 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. Programs may request to "Roll Over" unspent funds on the next year's application. This may be reviewed 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. (list is not exhaustive)


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

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 Purchases

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 on-going maintenance of the equipment. Students should also be trained in these areas of responsibility for the equipment.

What are examples of funded IRAs at San Francisco State?

  • Art-Fine Arts Gallery
  • Art-Martin Wong UG Gallery
  • BECA-Virtual Worlds
  • Moot Court
  • Theatre-Brown Bag
  • I.R. Model United Nations
  • Museum Studies & Sutro Collection
  • Asian American Community Arts Workshop
  • Runway fashion show
  • Biology Department Student Projects
  • Engineering Capstone Design
  • Physics/Astro-Planetarium Production
  • Physics/Astro-Observatory Program

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

The IRA Advisory Board plays a key role in deciding which IRA programs are recognized and in recommending funding. Funding recommendations for IRA programs are based heavily on input from the student members of the IRA Advisory Board. Students appointed by the Associated Students make up one-half of the voting membership of the IRA Advisory Board.

How does a program/project receive IRA support?

Calls for IRA budget requests go out every Fall semester. Review of applications by the IRA Advisory Board is completed in the mid Spring semester. The IRA Advisory forwards recommendations to SFAC for further endorsement before being advanced to the President for approval.

Who serves on the IRA advisory committee?

  • Associated Students President - Chair
  • Three additional students, appointed by the Associated Students
  • Two Academic Senate appointees
  • Two Provost appointees

Who has the final word on recognition and funding decisions?

The campus President has final approval on all decisions relating to IRA program funding.