How do I register my student group? And when may I register the organization?
Registration is an annual requirement for all student organizations that conduct meetings periodically or sponsor activities on the campus of Yale University, that provide a service, or that raise funds within the University for charitable or other purposes. Groups are expected to complete an online application for registration approval.
The online registration system is available 24/7 during the academic year: beginning on the first day of classes for Fall term and ending on the last day of classes for Spring term. Access is obtained by NetID confirmation. A student’s enrollment in Yale College is confirmed via the Banner (Student Financial & Administrative Services) matriculation database. Returning organizations must request registration approval at the beginning of the academic year, but no later than the second week of October if considering making application to the Undergraduate Organizations Funding Committee (UOFC). In any case, returning organizations will be expected to re-register by the end of October. New organizations may submit an application for registration approval at any time during the academic year.
It is expected that the President of the organization—not any of the other remaining officers—will submit the registration application on the group’s behalf. The President will be asked to accept responsibility for the organization prior to exiting the online registration system.
Registration review (action on the application) is ongoing throughout the academic year. Decisions on a group’s application, however, are generally suspended during recess periods or official University holidays, although group officers may continue to access their organization’s records during these times. Please note, however, that the Summer Session does not constitute term-time for the purposes of online registration review, nor are students able to access the online registration system during the summer recess period. Therefore, groups that fail to obtain registration approval before the conclusion of the academic year must wait until the first day of classes for Fall term in order to submit their application for registration consideration.
Why can’t I access my group’s records on-line?
The ability to edit a group’s records is limited exclusively to the organization’s President. The remaining four officers, however, maintain the privilege of “viewing” the group’s records, including reviewing changes made by the group President or administrative decisions rendered by the Yale College Dean’s Office with implications for the group’s registration status. Regardless of position held within the organization, however, continued access to group records (edit or view) is contingent upon three factors: (1) only those officers listed in the registration records will be recognized by the online registration system as having authority to access the group’s online account, (2) only those officers who maintain current enrollment as undergraduates (as determined by the Banner student enrollment database and/or the Office of the Registrar, Faculty of Arts & Sciences) have the authority to access the group’s records and (3) only those officers whose term of office (begin and end dates) remain active/valid may access group records. Therefore, you should consult your group President if you believe that a mistake has been made which prevents you from accessing your group’s records or from otherwise accepting responsibility for your position as an officer of the organization. Your group President should be able to modify/correct the group’s records in order to ensure that the officer listing is accurate and that terms of office have not expired for individual officers. As only Presidents have the authority to edit group records, Presidents who experience difficulties with accessing their own group records should contact the Office of Student Affairs for assistance with making corrections for the purpose of subsequent database access.
I’ve affected preliminary changes in response to a registration “pending” notice, however, I am no longer able to make further changes. Why?
A group may undergo several rounds of registration review before a final decision is made on the organization’s application for registration approval. In order to avoid unnecessary confusion over which set or version of edits is to be considered current or valid for administrative review, access to group records for editing purposes is temporarily suspended whenever the registration application is undergoing decanal review. Access is restored once the Assistant Dean for Student Affairs has made a decision on the group’s most recent (the latest) registration request. Subsequent edits will follow the same review/access process.
How can I confirm whether changes have been made to my group’s records or determine whether communications have been sent to group officers?
The online registration system is as sophisticated as it is user-friendly. The system maintains a chronological listing (date and time stamp) of every instance in which the group President or the Yale College Dean’s Office accesses a group’s individual records. This information is accessible by way of the “Review History” tab located in the upper left-hand corner of the group’s main records page. In addition to recording each instance of access to a group’s records, the system also records (1) instances where a change (additions, deletions, and edits appear as color-coded entries) has been effected to any field of information (Constitution, Finances, Officers, etc.) in the organization’s records, (2) every time an officer accepts responsibility for the organization (including the date and time such responsibility was accepted), and (3) every communication (i.e., confirmation of receipt of registration application, pending notices, requests for acceptance of individual responsibility for the group) sent by the system to the group’s President or officers.
This chronological listing benefits all officers of the organization, particularly as it promotes mutual accountability for changes made to group records by the group President on the organization’s behalf. Additionally, the President can make use of this feature to confirm whether and when the remaining officers have accepted their individual responsibility for the group. Additionally, the President may also confirm whether and when communications (registration confirmation or pending notices) have been sent to group officers by the Office of Student Affairs. Inversely, the Office of Student Affairs uses this feature in order to respond to inquiries made by group officers regarding pending notices, as well as to resolve disputes specific to the group’s registration status.
I submitted my group’s registration application a while back. Why hasn’t my group received registration consideration yet?
There are a number of reasons why an organization’s registration application might remains incomplete. Group Presidents may make the mistake of considering that the registration process is complete once they have submitted the original application for registration approval. However, all officers play an equal role in the online registration process in that they too, not just the President, share equal responsibility for the organization.
Most often one of the group officers fails to accept responsibility for the organization, which in effect renders the group’s application ineligible for registration review. Or the President may forget to press “Attention: Click here for officer acceptance of responsibility” prior to exiting the system, which means that none of the officers will receive a system-generated communication of their responsibility with respect to the same. The online registration system is designed to forward for registration review only those organizations whose application is considered complete. In order for the group’s records to be forwarded for review (“Ready for Review”) it is imperative that ALL five officers have accessed the online registration system in order to accept their individual responsibility for the organization.
Group Presidents, not the YCDO, are as responsible for ensuring that all officers have accepted responsibility for the organization. So, too, are they responsible for ensuring that all requisite information has been included in the original application for registration approval, or in subsequent versions of the application whenever additional changes have been made to the organization’s preliminary records. Group officers are therefore encouraged to access the group’s online records periodically—with particular attention paid to the “Review History” tab—throughout the registration review cycle.
How can I check the status of my group’s registration application?
The most precise and immediate way to check the status of an organization’s registration application is by accessing the “Review History” tab located on the upper left-hand corner of the group’s main records page. This tab provides a chronological record of all actions taken by group officers or the Yale College Dean’s Office specific to the organization’s request for registration approval. There you will note the “Date” on which a specific action was taken (by the group President or the Yale College Dean’s Office); the “Event,” which defines the action taken or to be taken (i.e., acceptance of responsibility, application submitted for review or an update made to the group’s records); the “Details” of which officer received or replied to a system-generated communication as well as basic information on the contents of a particular communication; the “Email Address(es)” of the officer(s) receiving such communications; and an annotated “Summary” of additional information specific to a group’s application for registration approval.
Additionally, officers may refer to the organization’s main records page for information on the group’s registration status. Generally, incomplete applications are denoted by the term “Validation Error,” which appears in red ink immediately upon accessing the group’s main records page and which oftentimes contains a message with specific instructions on how to complete the application or resolve the group’s pending status. Of course, officers may always refer to the system-generated communication(s) sent to them by the online registration system. Again, the specifics of these communications are contained in the “Review History” tab of the group’s online records.
The former group President is no longer enrolled or has since been replaced. How do I obtain access to the group’s records as the new President?
Officer updates are affected exclusively by group Presidents. In order to ensure that the new President has access to the group’s records outgoing Presidents should transfer responsibility (on-line) for their respective group(s) before graduating or taking a leave of absence from Yale College. Furthermore, updates to the Officers listing should be made regularly at the end of each academic term or, at the very least, immediately soon after elections are held. Otherwise, there is no way for the online registration system to acknowledge the new President’s authority to access and edit group records. This is particularly problematic at the beginning of the academic year when new Presidents are looking to re-register the organization as part of either fulfilling the College’s annual registration requirement, applying for UOFC funds, or reserving University spaces for conferences or other major campus events.
New Presidents who find themselves in this predicament must contact the Office of Student Affairs (attention Dean John Meeske) for technical assistance. The President’s communication should include the NetIds of each of the five group officers as well as the specific term of office (begin and end date) for each officer position.
I would like to make additional changes to my group’s records. When and how do I do this?
Organizations have the right to edit their registration records on-line at any time (24/7) at the discretion of the officers and with the consent of group members. The on-line registration system instantly notifies the YCDO each time changes—additions, deletions, modifications—have been posted to any section of a group’s records. Access is temporarily denied whenever changes posted are under consideration, but is restored immediately once the YCDO has completed its review. This process is repeated each time the group President posts changes to group records. It is important to keep in mind, however, that such changes must not conflict with University policy or the Undergraduate Regulations. For this reason, modified records constitute a new registration application and will be subject to the same review criteria used when first considering the organization’s registration request.
I received a “pending” notice indicating administrative issues or incomplete or missing information. What should I do?
Registration reviews resulting in a “pending” notification are due to the submission of incomplete or missing information; the deletion of information that was previously recorded and which is, in fact, required for a specific section of the application (for example, the Constitution); or to a group President’s failure to sufficiently familiarize him or herself with the Undergraduate Regulations. Generally, pending notices are resolved quickly and lead to full registration approval.
There are instances, however, when pending notices are the result of information that appears to be inconsistent with or is in possible violation of University policies or regulations. One cannot emphasize enough the value of consulting the Help tabs when completing the registration application. Not only do the Help tabs guide the President in filling out and completing the registration application successfully, but they also contain specific information on what to include in your responses to individual questions.
Much of the information requested in a group’s registration application is drawn from the Undergraduate Regulations. Officers of undergraduate organizations, but most particularly Presidents and Treasurers, should familiarize themselves with the Manual for Registered Undergraduate Organizations section of the Undergraduate Regulations.
I received a “pending” notice indicating possible non-compliance with federal or state tax regulations. What does this mean, and what constitutes a non-profit organization?
Group Presidents mistakenly assume that Yale University’s nonprofit designation (commonly referred to as “501 (c) (3)” status) extends to all student organizations, or that a National organization’s nonprofit status automatically extends to local chapters or affiliates. This assumption causes the organization to reply in the affirmative to the question of whether the undergraduate organization is a duly certified nonprofit entity. The net result is that the group’s registration is placed on pending status. To correct this error, the group President must return online to edit the Finances section accordingly. If the organization has indeed obtained official IRS recognition as a nonprofit entity, then the group President will be expected to submit such proof of certification before it may record such information as fact in the group’s registration application.
In fact, the overwhelming majority of Yale College student groups are not recognized by the Internal Revenue Services as nonprofit agencies, although it remains the expectation of Yale University that all student groups operating on campus must engage exclusively in nonprofit activities. This distinction becomes very important when soliciting funds from businesses or donors who expect to report their charitable contributions as a deduction when filing income tax forms. Incorporation requires the filing of forms as well as a disclosure of financial documents with the Internal Revenue Service and the Secretary of State. The application process for requesting 501 (c) (3) status can be expensive for groups with modest means and lengthy for groups with little patience or who expect immediate recognition from the IRS.
A basic summary of tax obligations—not provided as legal advice nor meant to serve as a comprehensive report of all federal and state tax laws—, “Tax-Exempt Status and IRS Reporting Obligations” is available at www.yale.edu/studentaffairs NEEDS LINK, 4/21/10 . Undergraduate organizations considering incorporation may also wish to contact the Yale Law School’s “Nonprofit Organizations Clinic,” information on which is available online or by contacting the Law School at 432-4992.
What constitutes/confirms registration approval?
There are three “virtual” ways an organization can confirm whether it is registered with the Yale College Dean’s Office: (a) the organization’s name will appear on the Official List of Registered Undergraduate Organizations (accessible at https://apps.students.yale.edu/uor/RegisteredOrganizations), which is consulted by University departments when providing benefits/services to undergraduate organizations, including UOFC support; (b) the officers can access the “Review History” tab on the group’s main records page; or (c) the President can check the automated message (confirmation of registration approval) sent to him/her by the on-line registration system.
Please note that the list of organizations published by Yale University via the institution’s front (home) page (www.yale.edu) is NOT maintained by Yale College, contains inaccurate or outdated information provided by unknown sources, and is therefore NOT an indication or confirmation of an undergraduate organization’s registration approval. Of course, the group can always contact the Office of Student Affairs (Yale College Dean’s Office) at 203-432-2908.
The system indicates a validation error when I try to name my group’s account signatories in the Finances section. Why? And is this information required for registration approval?
Organizations are not required to establish outside bank accounts or to submit financial information as a condition of registration approval. They will be expected to establish a group checking account, however, if they plan on requesting funding from the UOFC or other Yale College funding sources. It is expected that the group President and Treasurer will be named as account signatories on the group’s checking account. A validation error occurs whenever the account signatories named in the Finances section do not match the names/NetIDs of the group President and Treasurer as listed in the Officers section. Additional validation errors occur whenever the account name, account number and Employer Identification Number provided reflect personal data (an individual officer’s name, his or her individual checking account number, and Social Security Number) as opposed to information specific to the organization’s account title, account number, and Employer Identification Number (EIN).
My organization is considering applying to the UOFC, but our application is still under review. Will we be able to apply before the next scheduled application funding deadline?
Every effort will be made to resolve a group’s pending status in time for it to make application to the UOFC. In order to advance the group’s registration review and approval under such circumstances, it becomes critically important that the group President communicate regularly with the Office of Student Affairs, including responding quickly to requests for additional information or clarification. Of course, the group President will be expected to consult the “Review History” and “Help” tabs in the online registration database first, as well as to familiarize him or herself with the Undergraduate Regulations. By doing so, the President can best determine whether the delay can be readily corrected by submitting new or additional information that was not provided in the group’s original application or whether administrative assistance is required from the Yale College Dean’s Office.
Rarely if ever is a group’s inability to complete a registration application or to respond to a pending notice the result of a “technical glitch” with the online registration system. In fact, pending registration matters are generally resolved quickly either once the organization’s officers take the time to understand the questions being asked in the online registration system (see Help tabs) or if the group consults “Appendix D: Manual for Registered Undergraduate Organizations” in order to better understand how information presented in the group’s online records may be in conflict with the Undergraduate Regulations.
The Office of Student Affairs oversees the Committee on Undergraduate Organizations (a standing committee of Yale College), which in turn approves changes to the UOFC’s funding guidelines and is also responsible—by way of the Assistant Dean for Student Affairs—for helping to coordinate the activities of the UOFC. Such a close working relationship between the Office of Student Affairs (where group registration resides) and the UOFC (where funding to all registered student groups is available) ensures that every effort will be made to advance a group’s registration (and application for UOFC funding) in the instance that a technical glitch, albeit rare, is determined to have delayed the organization’s ability to meet established UOFC funding deadlines.
How may I request permission for the use of the Yale name in my group’s title? And is the Yale name permitted on outside bank accounts?
Any undergraduate organization may request the use of the Yale name in its title (an online form for such a request is automatically generated at the time of a group’s registration); however, the organization should be certain (1) that the nature and purpose of the organization are clearly evident from its title, and (2) that its proposed name does not imply University endorsement of the activities, services, or products offered by the group. Therefore, the words “Undergraduate” or “Yale College” must appear in the organization’s title or subtitle, and must be prominently displayed. Examples of names that would avoid confusion are “The Yale Colloquium: An Undergraduate Publication” or the “Yale College Backgammon Club.”
For tax purposes bank checks (group checking accounts) must not include the Yale name.
I have reviewed this information, but am still experiencing difficulty submitting or editing information on-line. What can I do?
The on-line registration system is quite robust and has been masterfully designed by ITS professionals. As stated earlier, the overwhelming majority of registration difficulties that are perceived to be technical in nature are generally a product of a new President’s unfamiliarity with the features and processes involved with on-line registration. In fact, it is not uncommon for a President to learn from peers how to resolve a pending registration matter while awaiting response from the Yale College Dean’s Office. A technical glitch, while quite rare, is quickly attended to by ITS staff. If, after having reviewed this material, you should find that your registration problem has not been resolved, feel free to contact Dean John Meeske, Associate Dean for Student Organizations and Physical Resources, at email@example.com.
Please keep in mind that on-line registration is one among many projects coordinated by the Yale College Dean’s Office. Absent unexpected developments or periods of high or priority activity that may cause a delay in registration review, every effort will be made to resolve your registration issue within a reasonable period of time.