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K-State Today

September 5, 2023

Investing in our future: Budget plan for fiscal year 2024

Submitted by Richard Linton

Dear Faculty and Staff, 

This is an exciting time for our university as we prepare to launch our Next-Gen K-State strategic plan on Sept. 8. My sincere thanks to all of you who have contributed to the planning process, and to those who provided feedback on the draft plan over the past six weeks. You have helped chart our path forward to become a new and more forward-thinking land-grant university fulfilling our mission of teaching, research and service in bold, exciting and transformative ways. Now, we must pave the way to move from planning to implementation. 

We know that our aspirations to become Next-Gen K-State will require new resources and intentional, targeted investment in our strategic priorities and I want you to go into our launch on Friday knowing just how committed we are to making that happen. That is why I want to share an overview of those planned investments for the coming year with you today. 

As many of you pointed out during the planning process, K-State has long operated with a mindset of "doing more with less." While this may be critical in times of crisis, it is not sustainable — we must have both a mindset and the resources that enable us to "do more with more" in order to be successful. The good news is that we are launching our plan at a good time as we look forward to one of K-State's best budget years in recent history, thanks in large part to our first tuition increase in five years and new state funding supporting our university and higher education in Kansas.

New revenue

The five percent tuition increase for our Manhattan, Salina and Olathe campuses and the three percent increase for the College of Veterinary Medicine equates to approximately $10.5 million in new revenue. In addition to new funds from tuition, we had a highly successful year with legislative initiatives. We received $30.8 million in new state funding, including $18.1 million in recurring funds and $12.7 million in one-time funding. We also received $5.6 million in one-time Governor’s Emergency Education Relief funding over the past year targeting critical scholarship and student success initiatives. Together, this represents approximately $46.9 million in new recurring and one-time funding to meet our budget needs in fiscal year 2024. We are prepared to put these resources immediately to work. 

Our investment plan

So how are we investing these funds? A strategic plan serves as a road map to guide financial decision making. Our commitment to achieving our plan's strategic imperative goals is demonstrated through our investment priorities. To that end, we created a One K-State fund, an annual strategic investment of $5 million, partially funded by the tuition increase and partially through internal reallocation of existing funds. Our funding priorities were based on the work of the strategic planning task forces and advisory committee during our planning process. A summary of how we are using the One K-State funds as well as our new state funding is listed below, organized by the themes contained in our strategic plan. 

  • Accelerate academic innovation: $1 million. These funds will be invested in the development of new and revitalized academic programs and microcredentials. 
  • Build and sustain the Next-Gen Land-Grant workforce: $15.3 million. Most of this funding, $13.7 million, is dedicated to improving faculty and staff compensation through salary actions previously announced. Combined with last year's investments, this represents a $26.7 million investment in our employees, including across-the-board and merit raises, targeted salary enhancements, under-market pay and faculty promotions. Funding will also be used to launch a University Faculty Scholars program to recognize outstanding mid-career faculty and to begin work on improving our workforce structure, compensation, staff performance evaluation systems, human resources services and supporting technologies.
  • Deliver an unmatched, impactful student experience: $6.8 million. This includes a significant investment from the state — $3.9 million for need-based financial aid and $2 million to implement the K-State Student Success Playbook focused on undergraduate student retention and success. Funds are also being used to advance our goal to provide all undergraduate students with applied learning experiences, support partnerships with community colleges, improve teaching spaces with high-impact, special-purpose classrooms, and enhance recruitment activities, including Spanish language outreach to students and their families and through increasing early-college programs.
  • Drive transformational discovery, innovation and scholarship: $6.5 million. This includes a $5 million investment in people, research space and equipment from the state to support a major Biomanufacturing Initiative. Additional investments will be made to support research innovation and research space renovations with a 1-to-1 match with departments, along with two universitywide interdisciplinary teams focused on digital agriculture and water. 
  • Integrate engagement across all we do: $640,000. These investments include support for our state and federal relations efforts, a new student internship program, a statewide economic impact study so we can better tell the story of our value to Kansas, a 1-to-1 match program with Extension for program development, and a universitywide inventory of our international partnerships as a first step to extending our global reach.
  • Invest in the jobs and economies of tomorrow: $5 million. This recurring annual state investment will support our K-State 105 initiative with its focus on community engagement and using this engagement to drive economic impact and prosperity for Kansas and our 105 counties.
  • Pursue operational excellence as One K-State: $12.2 million. $10.6 million of this investment is new state funding to support our facilities capital renewal initiatives and for information technology and cybersecurity infrastructure improvements. Additional funding is being used to improve university business processes and systems, such as travel, and to support university communication and outreach, data warehouse, and business intelligence support. In addition to state and university funding, this investment total also includes philanthropic funding to support the implementation of our new strategic plan. 

What I have described above represents the first year of investment in our new strategic direction at K-State. As we move forward to achieve our ambitious goal of becoming a leading next-generation land-grant university, it will be critical that we adapt our strategy and seek additional support from a variety of sources, including state and federal funds, philanthropy, and strategic allocation of our university funds.

We will be providing more information in the coming weeks about the specific initiatives being funded through these investments as well as other projects that will advance our strategic priorities. Planning for many of the new initiatives will be ongoing this fall with a focus on implementing them during the winter and spring. Faculty Senate is working with my office to plan a Zoom town hall later in September where we can answer questions you may have. In the meantime, if you have questions about the budget and our finances, you can reach out to Ethan Erickson, vice president for administration and finance, at any time. 

I am very excited that we will be launching our Next-Gen K-State strategic plan and sharing more about the initiatives that will drive us forward this year at this Friday's State of the University presentation. The presentation will be held at 3 p.m. in Forum Hall at the K-State Student Union on the Manhattan campus and will be followed by a reception on the Anderson Hall lawn. Find more information on these events. We hope you can join us! 

Go 'Cats! 

Richard Linton