Budget: Frequently Asked Questions

When new FAQs are added, they will appear at the top of this website.

NOVEMBER 8, 2019

 Why are we making cuts when we ended last year with over $10 million?

Base budgets and one-time funds are very different things. Our base budget is ongoing and reflects the plan for spending that guides our various departments each year. The amount that is unspent at the end of the year is one-time savings. 

Ongoing reductions are necessary to preserve the long term financial health of the institution as the decline in enrollment/tuition is not a one-time, single year issue. Having one-time resources available this year has provided us with the flexibility to bridge the budget gap, while we thoughtfully work to develop a sustainable and balanced budget plan. You can’t allocate one-time savings to ongoing costs. To use an example from our personal planning, you would budget to pay the electric bill every month, rather than just once. Otherwise, the one-time savings would run out and you would be left with no funds to pay future bills.

Why did we have $10 million left last year?

There are several reasons we ended with a $10 million balance. Close to half of the balance was in restricted and earmarked activity, such as GI 2025, CSU funded programs, student fees, and projects spanning fiscal years that reflect existing commitments. In addition, many departments ended the year with a balance given vacancies in budgeted positions, improved efficiencies, changes in plans, etc. that occurred within the year. The result is one-time savings, a portion of which stays with the department and Division, and a portion of which goes to the University. 

What is the staffing strategy? Will there be layoffs?

Over time, we need to reduce our staffing so that it is more aligned with our level of enrollment. With staff positions, we are prioritizing close review of vacant positions, internal searches, and reassignments in order to preserve employment of current staff and provide growth opportunities within the institution. Our goal is to balance our budget and plan responsibly so that future layoffs are not necessary.

If we have fewer employees, how is workload going to be addressed?

This will be a challenge, and will play out differently in the various departments and Divisions. In the simplest terms, there are fewer students to serve and therefore less overall work. However, we realize it is more complex than that. One important strategy will be to identify process improvement opportunities and operational efficiencies that can be implemented to alleviate workload and free up capacity.

Has the search process for MPPs changed? Why were searches not conducted for the recent VP appointments?

The general campus practice is, and will continue to be, to conduct searches for MPP positions. However, the President has the option of appointing MPP positions, which are at-will and never permanent. In the case of the VP appointments, he expressed confidence that he was making the right choice in the individuals who were serving in interim roles. The decision will bring stability to the divisions and to the President’s Administrative Team, as well as save resources that would have been used for searches.

How will the reductions be decided?

The University Resources and Planning Committee (URPC) is working to develop a budget recommendation. Specific reductions will be made at the divisional level. The Vice Presidents will collaborate within their division to identify savings and operational efficiencies. 

How are the budget cuts going to be implemented? Will areas be able to provide input?

Budget reductions will be implemented at the divisional level. The Vice Presidents will collaborate within their division to identify savings and operational efficiencies. 

I have reduction ideas, how can I share them?

You can use the form on the Budget Office website.

Why are we using FIRMS Codes in the budget planning process?

FIRMS codes are a national standard within higher education. Importantly, they provide a relatively accurate comparison of HSU’s spending levels with spending levels at other CSU campuses. Determining broad spending levels rather than specific spending activities can help reduce the emotion involved in campus budgeting, while also helping various areas of campus plan and understand the impact of enrollment on their budgets.

What efforts are underway to improve recruitment and retention?

There are many efforts underway, many of which are outlined here. In addition, there are new scholarships for local students, an expansive outreach campaign to encourage students to register for Spring semester, and a variety of efforts funded with recent GI 2025 funding.

When is enrollment going to turn around?

With the efforts underway now, enrollment is already turning around. However, it will take many years to get back to the level it was five years ago as we have had larger graduating classes and smaller incoming classes in recent years.

What is the status of the SEM plan?

It is being implemented. It is also being modified and updated based input from new leadership and new data on the effectiveness of prior efforts. Our updated plan reflects many of the exciting initiatives underway.

 FEBRUARY 1, 2019

Extensive FAQs have been developed related to the Request for Proposals for 2019-20 Graduation Initiative Funding are available here.

APRIL 9, 2018

FAQs from 2018-19 Budget Planning Cycle are available here.