Washington State University’s operating budget is back in the black, a year earlier than projected, President Kirk Schulz announced Monday in an email to students, faculty and staff. 

It marks the first time since 2013 the University has spent less money than it received. The 2019 fiscal year, which ended June 30, shows the operating budget with an ending positive balance of about $7.8 million. 

All across the WSU system, Cougs rolled up their sleeves and worked together to help move the University to a more fiscally stable position compared to just two years ago,” Schulz said in his Monday message. “Each major unit (campus, college, and vice presidential) was asked to combine spending reductions and revenue increases in order to assist the fiscal recovery, and I appreciate the creativity applied to enhancing revenue and the tough decisions made in reducing expenditures.” 

The University’s central reserves, however, are nearly depleted from five years of being drawn down to cover the deficit spending and need to be replenished. 

Schulz wants to use the spending reductions called for in the current year to begin rebuilding the University’s reserves. 

A series of strategic investments in previous years that included expanded classroom space, the new medical college, development of WSU Everett, construction of new athletic facilities and other priorities required tapping into the central reserve funds to help cover the annual cost of operating the university system. Under the Fiscal Health Initiativewhich was launched in 2017, all departments are required to develop plans to increase revenue or reduce spending by 2.5 percent per year to steadily eliminate reliance on central reserves for ongoing operating expenses. 

Read the president’s full message online.