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Annual Budget Process

Category: Governance
Number: GOV-090-005
Audience: All University employees
Issued: August 23, 2001
Revised: December 07, 2021
Owner(s): AVP (Finance)
Approved by: Board of Governors
Contact: Associate Vice-President (Financial Services) 306-585-4047

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.

Definitions

  • Budget Managers – administrators with responsibility and accountability for the operating budget for an academic or administrative unit of the University or a portfolio of such budgets, including but not limited to the Vice-Presidents, Executive Director (University Governance), Associate Vice-Presidents, Deans, the University Librarian, and Academic and Research Directors.
  • University Executive Team (UET) – President and Vice-Chancellor, Vice-Presidents, Executive Director (University Governance), and anyone else appointed by the President.
  • Fund – money set aside for a certain purpose. The University has specific accounts set up for Operating and Non-Operating expenditures, each uniquely identified by a five- or six-digit code.
  • Unit – any Faculty, academic, research, or administrative department, or program recognized within the budgetary process of the University, to which University funds are provided

Policy

The University uses fund accounting for the purposes of budgeting revenues and expenditures. The Board of Governors approves budgets annually for eight separate and distinct Funds, combined into three Fund categories: 

  1. General Fund
    - Operating Fund
    - Vacation Pay and Pension Accrual Fund
    - Ancillary Fund
    - Special Projects Fund

  2. Restricted Fund
    - Capital Fund
    - Research Fund
    - Trust Fund

  3. Endowment Fund

Principles

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

  • The budget process will be committed to transparency and openness. It will be a consultative process, including consultation with the Board of Governors and its Audit and Risk Management Committee.
  • Budget Managers 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 service will underpin the budget process.
  • The operating budget will normally be balanced. In the event that the operating budget is not balanced, a detailed plan is required that identifies how the University will return to a balanced budget position as well as how budget shortfalls will be addressed in the short term.
  • Any change in the level of tuition fees shall conform to the tuition policy of the University.
  • Base operating funding should be allocated in respect of all permanent faculty and staff positions in the Operating Fund.
  • 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.
  • The budget process shall promote long-term institutional sustainability, curricular and program innovation, and the teaching and research reputation of the University.

Preparation of the University Budgets

The principles noted above require that the 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 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.

The budget submissions/presentations from Budget Managers along with input from all committees and advisory groups, as well as any public input, will all be considered in the preparation of the budget.

Committees and Advisory Groups Supporting the Preparation of the Budget

Preparation of the budget is an inclusive and collaborative process. Although not an all-inclusive list, the following committees and advisory groups may 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.

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 budget information on behalf of University Council. The Terms of Reference for this committee are available online here.

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. The Terms of Reference for this committee are available online here.

Council Committee on Research (CCR).  CCR has a key 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 Terms of Reference for this committee are available online here.

Council Committee on Undergraduate Awards (CCUA).  CCUA has a key role in advising on matters related to the undergraduate awards strategy. The Terms of Reference for this committee are available online here.

President’s Advisory Committee on Sustainability (PACS).  PACS has a key role in advising the President on matters pertaining to sustainability which can have a financial impact on the University. The Terms of Reference for this committee are available online here.

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 budget preparation process. All are guided by a Board approved Statement of Investment Policy and Goals for each of the benefit plans.

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 a Board approved Statement of Investment Policy and Goals. The Terms of Reference for this committee are available online here.

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 all of which can have significant budget impact. The Terms of Reference for this committee are available online here.

Ancillary Council.  Ancillary Council provides specific advice on each of the six ancillary services and provides a forum to discuss ancillary operations and determine how services can be better managed to provide optimum service and determine budget targets for the coming year.

Budget Transparency

In accordance with the Principle noted above regarding transparency, budget documents for the current year will be published and made available for public review on the University website along with historical budget documents for the previous five years, and town hall recordings/presentations for the previous three years.  The following budget documents shall be made available and published on a regular basis. Current links are noted with the prescribed budget documents. A link to the University’s Annual Report (with financial statements) for the previous 10 years is also included for convenience.

University Annual Report (with financial statements)

University Operations Forecast

University Comprehensive Budget Plan

University Budget Book

Budget Grant Letters from the Province of Saskatchewan

Open Town Hall Budget Materials and Presentations


Roles and Responsibilities

Board of Governors

  • Approves the Annual Budget Process policy, which includes budget principles
  • Considers and approves an operations forecast for the University that is submitted to government
  • Considers and approves a Comprehensive Budget Plan for the University
  • Considers and approves tuition and fee rates for the University

President and Vice-Chancellor

  • Submits to the Board of Governors an operations forecast for approval
  • Submits to the Board of Governors a Comprehensive Budget Plan for approval, and has accountability for that plan
  • Submits to the Board of Governors a tuition and fee proposal for approval

Vice-Presidents

  • Oversees the development of the operations forecast
  • Develop the parameters for and prepares the budget submission template
  • Oversee the development of the Comprehensive Budget Plan
  • Participate on committees and advisory groups as noted above
  • Seek input from all campus stakeholders – faculty, staff, students, alumni, and others – through budget fora, online consultations, and similar mechanisms
  • Seek input from Budget Managers reporting to them and advocate as necessary
  • Provide advice to the President on budgetary matters
  • Provide advice to the President on matters relating to tuition and fees

 Associate Vice-President (Financial Services)

  • Prepares the Operations Forecast
  • Provides the budget submission template to Budget Managers and serves as the collection point for completed budget submissions
  • Reviews budget submissions and advises the Vice-Presidents on current revenues and expenditures and projections for budget purposes
  • Prepares the Comprehensive Budget Plan
  • Prepares the Board Decision Item relating to Tuition and Fees
  • Prepares the University Budget Letter
  • Manages the budget records and publishes a Budget Book

Budget Managers

  • All Budget Managers prepare a budget submission and submit it to the Associate Vice President (Financial Services). An opportunity will be provided to present the submission to the Vice Presidents, all other Budget Managers and members of the Council Committee on Budget. The presentations will allow for questions and requests for more information. Budget Managers identify challenges and opportunities for their unit as part of the budget submission. 
  • The Associate Vice-Presidents will normally provide University-level oversight and recommendations relating to budget allocations, projections, and financial implications of central University budget items that fall under the responsibility of their Unit.

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.

Processes

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 (for the year following the next fiscal year)

a. Board approval July
b. Submission to government August
c. Presentation to Ministry of Advanced Education October
d. Presentation to Treasury Board November
2. University Budget (for the next fiscal year)
a. Preparation of draft budget template for discussion November
b. Final budget template sent to Budget Managers Dec/Jan
c. Budget Managers submit budget requirements February
d. Public forums for input Jan-April
e. Budget Managers present budget submissions March
f. Committees and advisory groups provide input Jan-April
g. Submission to Board for approval April/May
h. Budget Letters distributed to Units May
3. Other
a. Federal Budget February
b. Provincial Budget March
c. Tri-Council Funding -- Indirect Costs Announcement February

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