Update! I just found the word appropriation, which seems to capture exactly what I'm after. However, I'm confused that no-one suggested this word when I first asked the question, so perhaps I've completely misunderstood the use of this word?

Each year each department at a university is allocated a sum of money for educating students, a sum of money for research, a sum of money for professional development and so on, right? But what do you call such sums of money? Do you call them allocations? Or grants? Or... what? And also, what do you call the specific sum allocated for educating students – education allocation?? For instance, if I want to say in a more concise way that we need a larger sum of money to fund education, do I say that we need a larger education allocation? (I'm pretty sure I can't say this – so what can I say?)

And just to be clear: I'm not talking about external funding here, but about the money that the university dishes out each year to its various departments.

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    Each department has a budget. Commented Jan 1, 2021 at 13:05
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    These are also bugdets. For example at my uni, the Students' Union was allocated its budget from the uni's central fund, and it decided how its own budget would be subdivided into the various activities and clubs, which in turn... Commented Jan 1, 2021 at 13:16
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    ...from the edit, each department, club etc applies for a certain budget for the following year, based on the way it used the previous year's budget. It's the same with government departments too, and the money/requests are funnelled downwards/upwards in the hierarchy. Commented Jan 1, 2021 at 13:19
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    Yes, you can say that. Commented Jan 1, 2021 at 13:32
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    I agree with the word budget. Sometimes, you'll talk about individual "line items" within a budget, especially if there's a large degree of variation expected and one line item might overspend and another one underspend, but the total budget is expected to be met without much over/underspend. Commented Jan 1, 2021 at 16:36

2 Answers 2


I'd just call it a budget.

An appropriation is just the act of taking or allocating. As such it might refer to things other than money - for example the act of cultural appropriation.

Even the term budget can be used this way - for example see "energy budget" - but primarily budgets are related to allocations of money.


Maybe you can use this-

Sense 1b-
A fixed or available amount.
Sense 1c-
A share or portion allotted or granted.

So your sentence might look like this:

"We need a larger educational allowance."

  • Thank you! Would "allowance" be used for the items in an organisation's budget though? I've only heard this word in more "private" contexts, for instance for the sum of money that parents give their kids on a regular basis?
    – Hannah
    Commented Jan 1, 2021 at 19:54
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    Yes, you may use both 'allowance' or 'budget'. There's no problem in using both of them. However, I would recommend you to use 'allowance' since, you want a word for a specific fund provided (i.e., education only, not collectively for researches, education, development, etc.). It's better to use 'budget' when you want to collectively mention these.
    – lee
    Commented Jan 2, 2021 at 8:31
  • What about appropriation then (see my update)?
    – Hannah
    Commented Jan 2, 2021 at 15:13
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    Hey @Hannah , I checked that out and found out that It's a meaning like the one you're asking for. Unfortunately, I hadn't heard such a meaning for this word before. But I wouldn't recommend you to use that word because I saw that it's normally used for money set aside by some companies or a government. Moreover it might confuse the reader due to these meanings(sense 1 and 3).
    – lee
    Commented Jan 2, 2021 at 15:57
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    If you use the term "educational appropriation" it might mean some funds that are given to support some universities or other educational institutions by the government. I did search for appropriation in universities but all I found was these kind of appropriations not something like a budget/allowance by a University
    – lee
    Commented Jan 2, 2021 at 16:05

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