Back to the Index

University Operating Budget Policy

Each year the University's annual operating budget for the coming fiscal year is prepared under the direction of the President and the Vice President for Business and Finance. The budget is reviewed by the Faculty Senate Finance Committee and is approved by the President upon recommendation by the President's Cabinet. Final approval rests with the Board of Trustees. The Annual operating budget process is expected to be generally completed by December of each year, with action by the Board of Trustees Finance Committee in February and approval at the regularly scheduled March and June Board of Trustees meetings.

Preparation of the actual budget documents and any subsequent revisions are the responsibility of the Vice President for Business and Finance working with the Controller and Budget Director. The President's Cabinet serves in a review and recommending capacity while the budget is being prepared and when in final form. The emphasis is less on formal approval than information sharing, reviewing priorities and developing consensus about the budget. The budget preparation process is modified each year to improve the process or to address certain matters germane in a given year.

Responsibilities Enrollment

The Vice President for Enrollment prepares Undergraduate and Graduate enrollment projections.

The Vice President for Student Life (VPSL) provides projections of resident students based on enrollment projections. The Vice President for Business and Finance (VPBF) develops projections of boarders based on enrollment and housing estimates.

Financial Aid

The Vice President for Enrollment works with the Director of Financial Aid to estimate the budget required for unfunded and funded financial aid based on the enrollment and housing projections. The estimated aid budget shall be developed in accordance with established and approved policies for the awarding of said aid.


The Director of Human Resources prepares an estimate of benefit costs based on the then current employment levels.


The Controller provides revenue estimates based on the enrollment and room and board evaluations prepared by the VPAA and VPSL. Bundy Aid is projected based on an evaluation of undergraduates and graduates receiving degrees prepared by the Registrar's Office. The Controller also prepares an estimate of all state and federal funding with the exception of those funds earmarked for financial aid. Auxiliary Enterprise revenue and department specific revenue is estimated by the executive responsible for a particular area with concurrence by the Controller. The Vice President for University Advancement establishes the Annual Fund revenue estimate.

General Expenses

The VPBF and the Controller provide expense estimates for the following:

1. Authorized full-time positions in the current budget.

2. Incremental salary and benefit adjustments, including equity.

3. Debt service requirements.

4. Utilities and insurance projections.

5. Contractual and liability obligations.

6. Governmental regulations.

7. Auxiliary enterprises.

8.     Inflation as appropriate.

9.     Budgets, prior year to actual.

10.  Funded depreciation.

11.  Capital budget allocations.

The Controller and the Budget Director prepare line item summary reports to each executive of the budget along with institutional guidelines and objectives. Each executive then determines allocations and reallocations within their respective divisions consistent with the institutional priorities and the objectives of each division.

Time Line September

The Vice President for Enrollment prepares preliminary estimates of enrollment for the upcoming academic year as follows:

a. Summer session, undergraduate and graduate.

b. Undergraduate by semester and average full-time equivalency (FTE).

c. Graduate by program and credit hour as appropriate.

These estimates are reviewed by the President's Cabinet and the Faculty Senate Finance Committee.

N.B. To the extent possible these enrollment projections will be carried forward in the development of a rolling five-year plan. It is crucial that all enrollment estimates be supported by an explicit statement of the assumptions used in their computation so that critical evaluation may be made.

The VPBF provides the preliminary enrollment projections to the Board of Trustees Finance Committee for review and discussion.

The Vice President for Enrollment adjusts the preliminary estimates for the next fiscal year based on the actual enrollment for the fall of the current year.

The VPBF established overall budget guidelines and assumptions for review and comment by the President's Cabinet and the Faculty Senate Finance Committee.

The VPBF and Controller identify and define all revenue elements with appropriate departments.


The VPBF will distribute budget request forms to assure consistency and facilitate aggregation. The Vice Presidents and other executives will distribute guidelines and assumptions to their respective divisions and articulate divisional priorities as well. Reallocations within each division from the current budget shall be considered at this time. Each executive will be provided with a list of authorized full-time positions for their division. The current operating budget will be the beginning stage of the process.


Each executive will collect all budget requests early in the month and evaluate them for consistency with the budget guidelines and assumptions as well as divisional priorities and the mission of the University.

Each executive will submit the completed budget to the VPBF by the middle of the month for compilation. Each submission shall be within the budget guidelines established earlier in the process based on enrollment estimates from the VPAA. Requests for incremental expenses shall

be separately itemized, and variable expenses shall be adequately documented and shall apply both incrementally and decrementally.

The budget as compiled by the VPBF will be reviewed by the Faculty Senate Finance Committee by the end of the month. Written comments will be prepared regarding two major areas: (1) Salary and benefits, and (2) operating budgets. An evaluation of incremental and variable expenses is likewise expected though not required.


The budget as compiled by the VPBF and with the comments from the Faculty Senate will be reviewed by the President's Cabinet. As a result of these deliberations the budget documents will be returned to each executive with the following observations and/or confirmations:

a.   Final budget approval for submission to the Board of Trustees is contingent on enrollment confirmation for the current spring semester as well as the pattern of enrollment projection indicators for the next year.

b.   Revisions necessary as a result of the President's Cabinet deliberations will be made by the executive responsible and within the overall budget guidelines, subject to the approval of the President.


The Vice President for Enrollment will revise enrollment projections based on actual spring enrollment. The VPBF will evaluate the financial impact of the enrollment change and will advise the President's Cabinet and the Faculty Senate Finance Committee.

If necessary, the President's Cabinet will consider the change in enrollment of the budget. Each executive will be aware of the total University budget.


The VPBF will compile the Recommended Budget and submit same to the Board of Trustees Finance Committee for review and approval.

The Board of Trustees Finance Committee will review and amend/approve the Recommended Budget for submission to the Board of Trustees at its next regular meeting.


The Board of Trustees preliminarily approves the budget. April and May

The preliminary budget is updated for changes in the environment (enrollment, expenses) and a final budget is prepared for submission to the Board of Trustees.


The final budget is approved by the Board of Trustees.


Printouts of the approved budget are sent to budget officers.