Budget Model Frequently Asked Questions

Why “Shared Responsibility”?

The University Budget Committee and the Provost’s Council did not feel that a pure Responsibility Centered Management[1] (RCM) budget model would fit OSU’s culture and needs.  They endorsed a hybrid approach that used elements of RCM budgeting but that encouraged collaborative decisions about revenue generation, investments in services and academic programs, and the development of cross-unit collaboration.  The model attempts to clearly show the relation of budget allocations to the work of academic delivery units; activities of service, support, and management units; and strategic, executive, and financial stability requirements.

What’s going to be different for my unit?

The budget model is intended to provide clear links between budget allocations and program outcomes or services.  Budget allocations to academic units are linked to measures such as student credit hours or degrees.  Allocations for service and support units are based on measures of people or outcomes provided.   This approach should help units assess the best approach for their unit and to explain the role of their unit to the larger campus community.

How will this change the resources my dean or director has?

The model would be phased in over a period of time, so some changes might take a couple years to show up.  If a college adds a new course delivery or increases graduation rates or a support unit is approved for an adjustment in their per measure allocation the changes will show up in the next fiscal year.

So this budget model is what’s going to happen?

No, the FY15 version was for discussion and comment by the university community.   The Provost’s Council has endorsed the overall approach, but the specific details of the model, the relative weighting of factors, and the timing of implementation needed work.

The FY16 version has addressed some of those issues and provides detailed data for units to review.  The data has enough complexities and the change of approach is significant enough that the model likely needs to be phased in over 2-3 years.  The Provost’s Council is discussing an appropriate approach.

Does this mean now every unit has to make money?

No, the model specifically allocates a community support reserve and establishes floor funding to recognize the cross-unit subsidies necessary to maintain a strong, comprehensive research university.

How does this align with President Ray’s comments that the next ten years have to be different than the last ten years?

Enrollment in Corvallis is going to slow as OSU approaches 28,000 students living in the community, the projections for Oregon high school graduates remain fairly flat, and competition for non-resident students increases nationally.  Creating the revenues needed to meet our strategic aspirations will require new approaches.

The budget model has been developed to allow the creation of incentives for new ways of developing delivery of our degree programs and finding new participants in higher education.  Some of those innovations could include:

Growing our international student population

  • Encouraging community college or transfer students to finish four-year degrees
  • Providing pathways for adult learners to complete degrees
  • Creating certificates or professional graduate training that meet critical needs for adult students and employers
  • Expanding alternative delivery of our degrees and programs through E-campus or at off site locations