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K-State Today

September 21, 2015



New annual budget proposal process

By Kirk Schulz, April Mason and Cindy Bontrager

Approximately two years ago, the University Budget Advisory Committee (UBAC) was established and tasked with a fact-finding mission to explore K-State's budget. Over the course of that time, the UBAC has worked diligently to understand the mechanics of the budget and how the dollars flow through the university.

This work enabled the committee to finalize allocation recommendations after the 2015 Kansas Legislature completed their historically long session. Thanks to their due diligence we were able to quickly determine how to balance our books after the Legislature, at the last minute, imposed a cap on our tuition rates for FY 2016 and FY 2017. 

One of the tasks of the UBAC is to evaluate funding proposals from colleges and other units requesting university general use funding for new initiatives. In order to do so, last spring the committee recommended the implementation of a unified university budget proposal process aligned with K-State 2025. We endorsed this process to begin in fall 2015 for all proposals for GU funding with a minimum threshold of $100,000 and the Budget Office began rolling it out over the summer. We believe the new process enables all units to document their needs for additional general use resources in a consistent and transparent manner and allows all proposals to be evaluated at the same time utilizing the same criteria. 

The application details and timeline for this process are available on the Budget Office's budget proposal website. Proposals forms should be submitted through deans and vice presidents. Proposals submitted by academic units will be reviewed by April Mason, provost and senior vice president and then forwarded on to the UBAC. All proposals should be submitted to the UBAC through Ethan Erickson, assistant vice president for budget planning, at eerickson@k-state.edu by Oct. 9. 

The UBAC will review all submissions between late October and late January and will recommend a prioritized list of proposals, which best align with the committee's budget planning and management principles. These principles are meant to guide the committee in recommending the allocation of our finite resources and provide enough flexibility to adjust recommendations in the event our available resources change. At the same time, the committee will be reviewing estimated costs for items, which impact the entire university such as adjustments for benefit rate changes, utility rate and consumption increases, and costs for proposed university salary initiatives. To promote transparency, all submitted proposals will be made available in November on the Budget Proposal website.

The goal is to announce final allocations in early May, dependent upon final adjournment of the Legislature. The general proposal process timeline is:

  • Interested academic and non-academic units prepare their proposals in early fall 2015.
  • All proposals from the deans and vice presidents are due to the Budget Office by Oct. 9.
    • The provost will review academic unit proposals and forward final proposals to the UBAC prior to the Oct. 28 UBAC meeting.
    • UBAC reviews proposals in late October through mid-January 2016.
    • UBAC develops initial recommendations for the president's consideration and review by the president's Cabinet in late January 2016.
    • President monitors actions of the Legislature, Board of Regents and Tuition and Fees Strategy Committee to determine impact on available funding sources from February to May 2016.
    • President's allocation decisions released in early May 2016 dependent upon final adjournment of the Legislature.

The overarching objective of the new budget proposal process is to understand the university funding needs over a three year planning horizon so we can strategically optimize the use of our resources. We continue to build a strategic focus and transparency in our budget planning. We look forward to your ideas and funding proposals.

Go 'Cats!

Kirk Schulz, President
April Mason, Senior Vice President/Provost
Cindy Bontrager, Vice President for Administration and Finance/CFO