The budgeting process for administrative units follows an annual cycle in four basic stages.
- Budget Planning Memo from Provost (approximately August 15)
In the early fall, the provost will distribute a budget planning memo to update cabinet officers on any new developments in strategic planning priorities that inform budget planning for the coming year, such as areas for targeted investment. This memo will also clarify new funding expected in the next fiscal year, including the size of future Provostial Allocation commitments, guidance on expected draws from the strategic co-investment pool and other discretionary funding sources, and changes in key assumptions and planning parameters.
The memo will confirm the budget envelope in which each cabinet area is expected to operate in the next fiscal year, with planning guidance on subsequent years. Funds for discretionary add-ons to administrative budgets will be limited so it is expected that cabinet officers will manage most needs within their approved budget envelopes. A multi-year budget outlook should inform resource request discussions with the Provost’s Office. We want to understand how any requests for additional resources relate to the underlying resources available to units.
- Preliminary Discussions of Potential Budget Requests (throughout Fall)
As you work through your own internal budget planning process through the fall--reviewing your currently approved budgets, updating the forecast, and developing a budget outlook for the next few fiscal years—you are encouraged to surface any potential requests for central funding as early as possible with Richard Myers, although the deadline for final proposals will not be until early January.
Doing so will allow us to preview funding requests and provide guidance on process, assistance with scale and cost estimates, connections to related initiatives in other cabinet areas, advice on potential barriers or concerns to address, and a preliminary sense of feasibility. These preliminary discussions of developing requests will also provide an opportunity for us to note any expectations for fundraising, suggest additional information needed to bolster the argument, and identify the most appropriate funding path for consideration (e.g., Priorities Committee)
- Budget Overviews (due October 31)
Memos provided in advance of the spring budget meeting should be a stand-alone summary of the financial condition of your area. These summaries should be brief and focus on how you are aligning resources toward your strategic aims and in support of institutional goals, significant changes in sources or uses of funding, and any concerns or opportunities that you would like to highlight (outline provided below). The budget overviews will provide useful context for us as we build institution-wide projections, anticipate future needs, and engage with your teams on issues throughout the subsequent year. In an effort to limit the administrative burden caused by these summaries, you are encouraged to incorporate information that you are assembling for other purposes. In most cases, the summaries will provide sufficient updates on their own. In select cases, depending on the issues raised, the provost may follow up with you directly to discuss or for additional information.
In preparation for the fall update of the university’s operating budget to the Priorities Committee, the Budget Office works with your departments and my office in September and October to revise the original fiscal year budget for changes that have occurred since the budget was first approved the previous April. Please consult the Budget Office’s Budget Cycle page for more detail.
- Budget Requests for Additional Resources (due early January)
Decisions on funding for new or expanded initiatives will typically occur in February each year. Please preview the initiatives with staff from the Budget Office and Provost’s office and involve any relevant committees (e.g., Academic Planning Group) before submitting the final budget request to the Provost.
Proposals for additional central funds should be material and in most instances related to strategic or compliance-related initiatives. Needs totaling less than $50,000 should be handled within existing budget envelopes managed by the cabinet officers in most cases. All budget submissions should include the following components:
- Compelling rationale for each initiative (e.g., problem to solve, opportunity to pursue, etc.) and how it relates to the Strategic Framework or other institutional priorities;
- Estimate of total resources (staffing, budget, space, etc.) necessary for success, reviewed by the Budget Office and Provost’s Office;
- Consideration of the availability of alternative funding options (including mortgaging future year allocations), such as the Provostial Allocation, reallocation of existing budget/positions, fundraising opportunities, opportunity for fees or recoveries, etc.; and
- Implications of not pursuing or deferring.
All requests for central funding should be submitted at this time, including requests for ongoing operating costs related to SAGIT proposals, initiatives emerging out of SUMAR, and other recommendations coming from ad hoc or standing committees related to your cabinet area. We recognize that in some cases such requests may be preliminary given the stage of development of the initiative. However, if you are seeking budget adjustment for the next fiscal year, we need to include them in the January/February budget deliberations.
Some submissions will be routed through the Priorities Committee for consideration as claims against their discretionary budget allocation. However, we will consider requests involving regulatory compliance, co-investment from the strategic pool, or sensitive staffing issues directly within the Provost’s Office. We anticipate that some requests will be straightforward enough that we can fund them without the need for an in-person meeting. For all others, we will schedule a time to meet with you to discuss your request. Our aim is to communicate decisions on all proposals for additional funding by late February/early March, detailing the funding decisions to assist your planning for the coming fiscal year.
Budget Overviews from Cabinet Officers
In a 3- to 5-page executive summary, please provide a financial narrative that explains your resource allocations in the past, present, and future. Highlight successes, challenges and opportunities with supporting documentation and quantification where relevant. Your budget overview should include the following components.
- Strategic Direction
- Summary of strategic focus and key initiatives for units reporting to the cabinet officer, and how they relate to the Strategic Framework and other institutional priorities
- Alignment of financial and staffing resources to accomplish priority goals, with examples of any reallocation or streamlining efforts to redirect staff and budget resources toward priorities
- Most significant trend and other data used to measure progress toward highest priorities
- Overview of multi-year budget planning efforts in units (attach relevant projections)
- Sources & Uses
- Material changes in funding sources or spending during the current and upcoming year (and any projected shifts expected further in the future)
- Reliance on prior year balances or reserves to support operations, with corresponding exit strategy
- Current or projected deficits and plans for addressing
- Current or projected accumulated balances and plans for putting to use
- Hiring plans for the current and next fiscal years to the extent they require additional FTE, regardless of source
- Risks & Reserves
- Greatest operational and budgetary risks facing units in cabinet area
- Plans for addressing risks
- Summary of budget contingency funds and reserve funds available to address risks