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FY21 Budget Guidance

Fiscal Year 2021 Budget Guidance

Vice Presidents, Deans, Directors and Budget Officers
Andy Horner, Executive Vice President for Business & Administrative Services
Virginia Dowse, Assistant Vice President and Controller
November 11, 2020
Fiscal Year 2021 Budget Guidance

At its October meeting, the Board of Trustees approved a deficit operating budget for fiscal year 20-21.  This projected operating deficit would increase if our students are unable to return to campus for the full spring semester due to an increased prevalence of COVID-19. Fiscal year 2021 includes significant uncertainty given the unknown impacts to enrollment and campus residence as the pandemic precautions extend.

As a result, we need to continue to be fiscally conservative and prudent in our spending practices this year. To that end, we will not be providing division, unit or department budgets for the year.  Rather, we continue to require each of you as a leader to employ tight fiscal controls over your operations and allow spending only for those activities essential to carrying out our academic, research, mission and service activities. These are largely the same practices that have been in place since March; however, we want to provide some additional guidance on what types of expenditures are acceptable as well as some examples that can help support your spending decisions: 


Essential spending 

This concept applies to general operating expenses that have been historically funded through operating budgets and/or department reserves. There is some level of judgment that is required in determining what is truly “essential”, but the primary four criteria are academic, research, service and other mission (i.e. campus ministry, community engagement) activities. When campus leaders consider expending University funds, the key question that should be asked is “is this expenditure absolutely necessary to carry out the four criteria?”  If the answer to that question is “yes,” then the expenditure should be made without reservation.  If the answer is “no”, then the expenditure must be deferred.  The concept of essential spending does not apply in the same way to gift or endowment funds. Guidance related to spending from these sources is provided below.


Compensation/Hiring Actions

Faculty hiring: Faculty hiring is occurring through communication with the Provost’s Office as needed.  Units will need to explain the urgency and need for initiating searches now.  Otherwise, the general faculty hiring freeze announced last spring remains in place.

Staff hiring: The position control process for staff position postings and salary increases continues to be in place such that both searches for vacancies and the actual hiring of replacement personnel must be approved by executive leadership.  New position creation is generally frozen except under exceptional circumstances related to regulatory compliance or revenue generating activities.

Graduate Assistantships: Each unit or division may proceed to recruit GAs for 2021-22, so long as internally funded GA spending in the unit does not exceed the unit’s internally funded GA spending for FY21.  This restriction does not apply to GAs funded externally through grants or contracts.  Special requests for additional GA spending must be approved by the Provost’s Office. 


Non-personnel expenses

Travel: Travel continues to be highly restricted for both public health and budgetary considerations. Please consult Path Forward Travel Guidelines website for further details on the considerations for travel.

Capital Projects/Renovations: No new capital projects or minor renovations are being considered at this time. Capital improvements will focus only on urgent break/fix and maintenance of critical systems.

Personal Protective Equipment (PPE)/Cleaning/Remote Technology: Please coordinate all purchases of these items through Purchasing and Payables Services. We are maintaining a stockroom of necessary campus supplies and can maximize our purchase power when these items are ordered in bulk. Please review the Guide to Buying and Paying for Goods and Services – COVID-19 for further information

Professional Development: Expenses related to certifications required for position responsibilities or for tenure and promotion are allowable.  Training required for compliance purposes, such government or agency requirements and/or to understand and implement to policies, is allowable. Programs offered by the Center for Leadership are allowable and encouraged.  All other professional development expenses should be limited during this time.

Misc. Spending: Spending related to non-essential activities is frozen at this time. Examples of non-essential spending include the following: expenses related to gatherings, such as celebrations of milestones; food for meetings held in-person; promotional or give-away items (excluding marketing or enrollment management activities); new technology or other equipment not required for distance teaching or working; consulting or external studies that can be delayed.

P-cards: Much of the spending that occurs on p-cards is discretionary and unplanned. P-card limits will continue to be held at reduced levels in an effort to temporarily reduce spend.  Exceptions will be made if you have an appropriate business need. Contact accounts payable if you need your P-card limit increased.


Funding Sources

Gift/Restricted Fund spending: Spending from donor-restricted funds (those funds that begin with 41XXXX) can continue to be spent in accordance with the donor intent. We should continue to be good stewards with our donor contributions and ensure we are fulfilling the intention of their gift.

Endowment Fund spending: Spending from endowment funds (those funds that begin with 38XXXX or 40XXXX) can continue to be spent in accordance with the donor intent or board designation. Where possible and appropriate, prioritize spending from those funds to support ongoing mission driven initiatives.

Reserve Fund spending: Spending from department or unit reserve funds should be limited to essential spending only as described in these guidelines.

Order of funding source priority: As a reminder, when an expense can be funded from multiple sources (endowment, gift, budget) the most restricted funding source should be used first. For UD, the order of spending would be: 1) true endowment (40XXXX) or gifts (41XXXX); 2) quasi endowment (38XXXX); 3) unrestricted budget or department reserves.


Office of Budget and Planning

St. Mary's Hall
300 College Park
Dayton, Ohio 45469 - 1664