New budget model will not drive changes in allocations
May 25, 2012
By Mitchel Benson
Amid a sea of economic uncertainty in California, UC Davis continues to tack toward a new, more transparent budget model that will provide campus faculty and administrative leaders with a greater understanding of and control over their budgets.
Provost and Executive Vice Chancellor Ralph J. Hexter, in a letter this week to the Council of Deans and Vice Chancellors, shed some light on the latest developments concerning campus budgeting.
In the May 21 letter, and in numerous presentations throughout the past two months, Hexter, as the campus’s chief budget officer, and staff from the campus’s Budget and Institutional Analysis team stressed that the shift to the new budget model will not drive any change in budget allocations for the 2012-13 year.
Instead, the budget model’s major change for the upcoming year will be a simple “recoloring” of campus funds to ensure more clarity and transparency. In other words, deans, vice chancellors, business officers and everyone else will see a new structure in place that will allow them to more easily see the sources of revenues flowing to individual schools, colleges, departments and units.
Today, for example, departments and units are accustomed to receiving general fund dollars, which are a combination of tuition and state support.
But beginning July 1, for the 2012-13 budget year, units that generate undergraduate tuition revenue through instructional activities will be able to identify a portion of their general fund, or “19900” funding, as coming directly from tuition. Units will be keeping a portion of their tuition based on a formula that considers number of student credit hours, number of majors and number of graduates.
In addition, units that conduct research will be able to keep more of the indirect, or overhead, costs that sponsors pay UC Davis for research. These overhead reimbursements are based on direct research expenditures and, under the new budget model, more of these funds will remain with the units that actually generate them.
Units will also be receiving a provost allocation, which is funded largely by the provost’s keeping a portion of each of the revenue streams and pooling these funds with state funds. Assuming that state support for the campus is not cut any further, the provost will use this allocation to assure that 2012-13 allocations to units are roughly equivalent to their 2011-12 allocations.
As UC Davis grows, as its schools and colleges adopt new approaches to teaching and as enrollment patterns shift, academic leaders will have a more precise idea of how those changes will directly affect their funding.
“We will still need to grapple with the state budget going up or down, with tax referenda and state tax policy, and with changes in enrollment,” Hexter said. “The model isn’t changing any of that.
“We’ve been using this iterative process to explain to faculty and administrators how this new model will work, and to consider their feedback. We’re introducing people to as much detail as they need and want. And we are listening to what they have to say. We are locking in on an approach, but we will refine it, as needed, as we move forward.”
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