Budget Process

Category: Governance
Number: GOV-090-005
Audience: All University employees
Issued: August 23, 2001
Revised: May 05, 2015
Owner(s): AVP (Resource Planning)
Approved by: Board of Governors
Contact: Associate Vice-President (Resource Planning) - 306-585-4387

Introduction

The Board of Governors (Board) has the sole authority to establish the annual budgets of the University (Section 62 of The University of Regina Act).

The University’s strategic plan is implemented, through the commitment of resources, to accomplish the mission of the University. This policy defines the process in which the budget is prepared and input is provided for the consideration of the Board, which has the authority and responsibility to approve the University’s annual budgets.

Policy

The University uses fund accounting for the purposes of budgeting and recording revenues and expenditures. The Board of Governors approves budgets annually for five separate and distinct funds: 

  • Operating
  • Capital
  • Research
  • Trust and Endowment
  • Ancillaries

Principles

The fundamental principles that guide the development of the annual budget as reviewed and approved by the Board of Governors annually through the approval of the Annual Budget Plan include:

  • The annual budget process will be committed to transparency and openness. It will be a consultative process, including consultation with the Board of Governors and its Finance and Facilities Committee.
  • Deans, associate vice-presidents, and directors will have meaningful opportunities to make their budgetary needs known early in the budget process and shall be given opportunities for input during the budget development process.
  • The University’s goals and objectives as outlined in the strategic plan and embodied in its academic mission of teaching, research and public service will underpin the budget process.
  • The operating budget shall be balanced.
  • Any change in the level of tuition fees shall conform to the tuition policy of the university.
  • Total operating expenditures should be comparable to those at other universities of a similar size and with a similar range of programs and services, all things being equal.
  • Annualized, base-budget operating funding shall be allocated in respect of all permanent faculty and staff positions.
  • Actual operating revenue and expenditure amounts will be used to prepare the budget insofar as they are known. Where it is necessary to estimate, the practice will be to underestimate revenues and overestimate expenditures, with the degree of under- or over-estimation to depend on the amount of uncertainty inherent in a given estimate.
  • The operating budget shall comprise, insofar as possible, all of the operating revenues and expenses of the University. Any restructuring required to achieve and maintain this state will occur as quickly as incremental funding will allow.
  • The operating budget will recognize incremental revenues and expenditures as they arise and not defer such recognition to future budgets.
  • The budget process shall promote long-term institutional sustainability, curricular and program innovation, and the teaching and research reputation of the University.
  • Budget decisions shall rely on a careful balance of evidence and informed judgment.

Preparation of the University Budgets

The principles noted above require that the University Budget be prepared in a transparent and inclusive process. This requires the engagement of many parts of the University.  As such, there are a number of groups and committees that provide advice and input to the budget making process.  Similarly, it is important that there are a series of less formal public processes to allow for further input to the preparation of the budget.  These opportunities are further described below.

The University Executive Team, and in particular the three Vice-Presidents have the primary role to gather information from these committees, advisory groups and public processes and provide support to the President in the preparation of the budget for Board review and approval.  The Vice-Presidents are therefore also key participants in the many committees and advisory groups and lead public forums on budget.

Committees and Advisory Groups Supporting the Preparation of the Budget

The following committees and advisory groups have specific roles and responsibilities regarding the input they provide to the budget-making process.  Their specific budget-making input is summarized below. For a detailed description of their membership and terms of reference, please refer to the links provided at the end of this policy.

Council Committee on Budget (CCB).  CCB has a key role in the provision of advice to the President on budget, and on the gathering of information on budget on behalf of University Council. Their specific roles and responsibilities are defined in their terms of reference, but regarding the preparation of the budget they generally include:

  1. Reviewing and assessing budget principles, allocations and related financials
  2. Consulting with the University community on financial matters
  3. Evaluating and making recommendations on proposals for new or revised programs
  4. Communicating on allocations during the budget preparation process

Council Committee on Academic Mission (CCAM).  CCAM has a key role in the provision of advice to the President on matters pertaining to the academic mission of the University and advice on many matters with financial implications.  Their specific roles and responsibilities are defined in their terms of reference, but regarding the preparation of the budget they generally include:

  1. Reviewing and assessing progress on the strategic plan
  2. Making recommendations on academic planning and programming
  3. Consulting and coordinating with CCB
  4. Reviewing and making recommendations with respect to academic unit reviews
  5. Reporting and recommending on matters relating to the academic structure

Council Committee on Research (CCR).  CCR has a key important role in the provision of advice to the Vice President, Research and the President on matters pertaining to research at the University and particularly changes to research policies, programs or institutes, all of which can have significant budget impact.  The specific roles and responsibilities are defined in their terms of reference, but regarding budget preparation they generally include:

  1. Guiding the development and review of the Research Strategic Plan including budget implications
  2. Approving applications for research grants and contracts
  3. Considering and making recommendations on the continuation, creation or closure of University-wide Centres and Institutes
  4. Providing advice on matters pertaining to research which might have a budget impact

President’s Advisory Committee on Sustainability (PACS).  PACS has a key role in advising the President on matters pertaining to sustainability.  In particular, this advisory committee monitors University progress on one of the major threads in the Strategic Plan and provides advice.  These matters definitely have a financial implication. The specific roles and responsibilities are defined in their terms of reference, but regarding budget preparation they generally include:

  1. Advising on sustainability goals, plans, initiatives, projects, reports, policy and practices
  2. Reviewing and making recommendations on sustainability policy
  3. Responding to sustainability issues referred to it by other academic, administrative and governance bodies

Academic and Administrative Benefits Committee (AABC) and Non-Academic Benefits Committee (NABC) operating together for some matters as the Joint Pension Investment Committee (JPIC).  Jointly and individually the JPIC and AABC/NABC Committees provide critical and important information to the President and Board regarding the needs and costs of pension and benefits for all University employees.  These costs are a fundamental element of the annual budget preparation process.  All are guided by a Statement of Investment Policy and Goals for each of the benefit plans.  The specific roles and responsibilities of each of these groups are noted in the respective collective agreements, but regarding the budget process, they generally include:

  1. Reviewing and monitoring investment and benefit expenses and reporting to the plan members and board
  2. Advising the President, Board, and negotiating committees of any excess surplus or shortfall in the applicable pension plan
  3. Monitoring investment policy and providing recommendations on investment managers and investment policy and goals

Trust and Endowment Committee (TEC).  The Trust and Endowment Committee provides critical and important information of the Trust and Endowment Funds.  Investments in these funds are guided by an annually approved Statement of Investment Policy and Goals.  The specific roles and responsibilities of TEC are noted at the link, but regarding the preparation of the budget, the committee is responsible for the following regarding trust and endowment funds:

  1. Reviewing and monitoring investments on the funds
  2. Advising the board regarding the status of the funds
  3. Monitoring investment policy and providing recommendations on investment managers and investment policy and goals of the funds

Space Allocation Committee (SAC).  SAC has a key role in the provision of advice on the matters dealing with space on campus.  One of our limited and vital resources deals with space usage and availability (both qualitatively and quantitatively).  SAC provides information and advice as to how the space is used and potential changes.  Regarding the preparation of the annual budget, SAC provides advice in the following areas:

  1. Reviewing and monitoring space usage
  2. Reviewing and advising on requests or recommendations on any changes in use
  3. Monitoring leased space and recommendations for any changes in use
  4. Reviewing the financial implications of all of the above

Ancillary Council.  Ancillary Council provides specific advice on each of the five ancillary services and provides a forum to determine how services can be better managed to provide optimum service.  The basic operating principle of the Ancillaries is that together they should operate in a revenue neutral mode to ensure that services are maintained at the most affordable level for students.  In the first instance, Ancillaries exist to serve students while also providing related services to staff.  As part of the budget process, a formal Ancillary Budget is required that consolidates the budgets and expenditures of each of the following:

  1. Food Services
  2. Residence Services
  3. Bookstore
  4. Parking
  5. Printing Services
  6. Space Leased to External Partners

Transparency

In accordance with the Principles noted above, budget documents will be published and made available for public review.  The following documents shall be made available and published on a regular basis.  Current links are noted with the prescribed documents.

University Financial Statements

University Annual Report

University Operations Forecast

University Annual Budget Plan

University Budget Book (updated annually)

University Annual Budget Letters

Open Forum Budget Materials and Presentations

University Salaries (published in Library)

Travel Expenses of President and Vice-Presidents

Roles and Responsibilities

Board of Governors

  • Approves the budget principles
  • Oversees the budget process
  • Considers and approves a comprehensive budget plan for the University annually
  • Approves tuition and fee rates

President and Vice-Chancellor

  • Submits to the Board of Governors an annual comprehensive budget plan for approval, and has accountability for that plan
  • Recommends a tuition and fee proposal to the board

University Executive Team

  • Oversees the development of the annual comprehensive budget plan
  • Participates on committees and advisory groups as noted above
  • Seeks input from all campus stakeholders – faculty, staff, students, alumni, and others – through budget fora, online consultations, and similar mechanisms
  • Seeks input from budget units reporting to them and advocates as necessary
  • Provides advice to the President on budgetary matters
  • Provides advice to the President on matters relating to tuition and fees

Associate Vice-President (Academic and Research)

  • Reviews budget submissions and advises the Provost and Vice-President (Academic) and Vice-President (Research) on the needs and priorities of academic and research units

Associate Vice-President (Resource Planning)

  • Reviews budget submissions and advises the University Executive Team on projections relating to enrolments, expenditures and tuition fee levels
  • With input from a variety of sources, prepares the proposed comprehensive budget plan, including tuition and fees
  • Prepares the annual budget letter
  • Assists in preparation of the Operations Forecast
  • Oversees the management of the website with historic budget information

Associate Vice-President (Finance)

  • Reviews budget submissions and advises the University Executive Team on current expenditures and projections for budget purposes
  • Manages the budget records and publishes a Budget Book annually
  • Monitors Ancillary Accounts, maintains business plans for Ancillary enterprises and advises on the Ancillary Budget
  • Ensures professional accounting practices are maintained related to the budget

Associate Vice-President (Human Resources)

  • Manages the employee records
  • Reviews budget submissions and advises on the financial implications of decisions related to the employment of University faculty and staff
  • Co-ordinates collective bargaining and prepares projections on future settlements

Associate Vice-President (Facilities Management)

  • Manages the Utility Budget and advises on projections regarding utility costs
  • Manages leased space and advises on projections regarding leases
  • Manages Major Capital and the Campus Master Plan, advises on Major Capital costs
  • Manages facilities and advises on the need and priorities for Sustaining Capital

Associate Vice-President (Information Services)

  • Manages information technology infrastructure and advises on costs of computing equipment and priorities
  • Manages the Evergreen Program and provides projections on costs to maintain the program

University Librarian

  • Maintains central software and academic services and provides projections for costs for licenses for these services

Academic, Research and Administrative Units

  • The Budget Manager of each unit annually prepares and presents a budget submission
  • The units identify challenges and opportunities for the unit annually as part of the budget submission.  Forecast of changes in enrolment, revenue, or expenses as appropriate need to be made by each manager
  • The Budget Managers are required to report on the status of their budget in a mid-year report.  Projections to the end year are also to be made at that time.  Any forecasted over-expenditure at that time must be identified and explained to the Vice-President.  Approval is required for any over-expenditure above budgeted allocations.

Consequences for Noncompliance

If the annual budgets are not set in accordance with this policy, the fiscal integrity of the University may be compromised and the University may be denied a clean audit opinion by the Office of the Provincial Auditor, which would in turn jeopardize the provincial operating grant.

Noncompliance with this policy may lead to sub-optimal allocation of resources jeopardizing the achievement of the University’s mission and strategic plan.

Any deficit budget will not be approved by the Board.

Processes

Budget Schedule

Preparation of the University Budget is a year-round process.  The following dates will vary between years, but are generally indicative of the timing and schedule for key budget related dates.

1.    Operations Forecast

a.    First draft for Board direction                                      May

b.    Final draft for Board approval                                     July

c.    Submission to government                                         August

d.    Presentation to Ministry of Advanced Education         October

e.    Presentation to Treasury Board                                 November

2.    Annual Report

a.    First draft for Board direction                                     March

b.    Final draft for Board approval                                     July

c.    Provincial Auditor review                                             June

d.    Provincial Auditor approval                                         August

e.    Submission to government                                         August

f.     Publishing in Government Records                             September

3.    University Financial Statements

a.    Review of draft notes for board                                      March

b.    Ongoing Provincial Auditor Review                                 Nov-May

c.    Submission to Board for Approval                                   July

d.    Provincial Auditor Report                                                 July

e.    Tabling of Financial Statements in Annual Report           November

f.     Tabling of Provincial Auditors Report in Public Accounts   December

4.    University Budget

a.    ULT Annual Retreat and Budget Discussion                     August

b.    Preparation of draft Budget Template for discussion     November

c.    Final Budget Template published                                     Dec/Jan

d.    Units submit Budget Requirements                                February

e.    Public Forums for input                                                    Jan/Mar/May

f.     Unit budget presentations                                              March

g.    Committees and advisory groups provide input            Jan-April

h.    Board approves Budget                                                  May

i.      Budget Letters Distributed to units                                May

      5.   Other 

a.    Federal Budget                                                                  February

b.    Provincial Budget                                                               March

c.    Tri-Council Funding – Indirect Costs Announcement           February

d.    Confirmation of Federal Funding for Institute Francais       March

e.    Annual Reporting to Canada Revenue Agency                   October

f.     Annual Reporting to Internal Revenue Services (USA)        October

g.    Annual Reporting to CAUBO/Stats Canada                        October

Budget Submissions

  1. Budget Managers will be provided with a budget submission template that describes the parameters of, and deadline for, a budget submission each year.
  2. Budget Managers of academic, research and administrative units provide a budget submission in accordance with the prescribed budget template.  An opportunity will also be provided to present the submission if requested.
  3. The unit budget submissions and any subsequent budget presentations are available to all Budget Managers and to members of the Council Committee on Budget.
  4. Budget Managers may be asked further questions following a budget submission or presentation.
  5. The presentations from the Budget Managers along with the input from all committees and advisory groups, as well as any public input will all be considered in the preparation of the budget for the approval of the Board.

Related Information