Budget Modernization, Risk Management Updates Provided to Board of Trustees

February 10, 2021 | News, UToday
By Staff

The University of Toledo is moving to a new budget management philosophy that will decentralize the budgeting process to empower colleges and units to manage their revenues and expenses in support of their goals aligned with the University’s mission.

The budget modernization process is among the key initiatives identified by Interim President Gregory Postel to increase efficiencies, address operational challenges and embrace innovative ideas to prepare UToledo for a successful future.

“Developing and implementing a new budget model that supports and encourages innovation and collaboration is critical to the future financial stability of UToledo,” Postel said. “The new incentive-based budget model will directly link student success outcomes to strategic academic investments.”

The UToledo Board of Trustees heard an update on the budget modernization process during its Feb. 10 meeting from the leaders of the initiative team Sabrina Taylor, assistant vice president of budget and planning, and Brenda Grant, associate vice president for academic finance.

The new performance-based model is currently being developed based on fiscal year 2020 information that incorporates industry best practices as well as customization specific to how UToledo operates. Among the guiding principles of the project is to be transparent and collaborative with input from the campus, including a forum open to the campus community that is being planned for Thursday, Feb. 25 and a retreat with the deans of the academic colleges that will be held Monday, March 22.

The goal is to move from the existing incremental budgeting process to the new performance-based model in place for fiscal year 2023.

Trustees also received an update from the team working on the enterprise risk management key initiative. Charles Jake, interim vice president and general counsel, leads the team with Matt Schroeder, executive vice president for finance and administration and CFO, and updated the board on the progress being made to establish a program at UToledo.

The University is conducting request for proposals (RFP) process for a third-party consultant to assist with creating the framework at the University and received a robust response from approximately 15 firms. The University is evaluating the proposals with the goal to have a selection in February.

At the same time, the University has advertised for filling a new position of associate vice president for risk management and chief risk officer and is currently conducting interviews to fill that position.

The goal is to develop the framework for the program and have it launched by the end of the calendar year.

In addition, the University continued its practice of making room and board decisions ahead of the annual budgeting process to provide students and families more time to make decisions about their plans for the upcoming school year.

The housing and meal plan rates approved by the Board of Trustees go into effect for fall 2021. On-campus housing will increase by a weighted average of 2.76%, depending on the residence hall and type of room selected by the student, and meal plan rates will increase 3.9%. The increase represents approximately $70 per semester or $4.38 per week for a standard double room and $83 per semester or $5.19 per week for an all access meal plan.

The new room and board fees are for students who are not part of an existing Toledo Tuition Guarantee cohort, for which housing and meal plan rates are guaranteed for four years as part of the program. The rates apply to continuing students and those entering the fourth cohort of the Toledo Guarantee.

Aligned with UToledo’s multiple campus master plan approved in 2017, the University is moving forward with plans to divest of property on Westwood Avenue that had previously been used for surplus property redistribution. Through an auction conducted by the Division of Real Estate of the State of Ohio Department of Administrative services, a bid of $275,000 was accepted. The Board of Trustees approved a resolution for the conveyance of the warehouse property.

Trustees also approved sabbatical leaves for 16 faculty members during the 2021-22 academic year.

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