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New budgeting tool streamlines planning as WSU prepares for potential spending reductions

The Cougar Pride statue at the WSU Pullman campus.

Washington State University is asking campuses, colleges, and units to plan for a 6% reduction in core fund budgets amid continuing efforts to maintain the university’s fiscal health during a period of enrollment and tuition revenue declines.

As the transition to a new budget model continues, the planning cycle and budget development will need to begin earlier than it has in past years. WSU is starting to plan for FY-2024 now in preparation. This earlier planning cycle means the 6% reductions are based on earlier enrollment and revenue projections than would be used for the typical spring cycle. Factors like the final state budget, tuition rates, and enrollment will continue to be monitored for impacts to FY-2024 budgets.

For this FY-2024 budget process, WSU is rolling out a new budgeting tool that streamlines the planning process and reduces the need for spreadsheets and other manual inputs.

Campuses, colleges, units and departments will have access to Adaptive Planning for the FY-2024 budget cycle. This tool automates budget development and integrates with Workday to make the planning process more efficient. Adaptive Planning can accommodate multiple budget versions if adjustments to the current scenario are warranted.

Adaptive Planning is in the final phase of adoption and will be fully functional later this spring.

“Adaptive provides powerful new tools for efficiently planning and managing our institutional budgets systemwide,” Stacy Pearson, vice president for finance and administration, said. “We are pleased that these improvements are coming online as we undertake the important work of preparing for another potentially difficult budget year.”

Because the implementation of the new RCM-hybrid budget model is still in the planning phase, funding allocations for FY-2024 will be determined in the same way as previous years. Current plans call for the full implementation of the new model in FY-2025. More information on the budget model is available on the Office of the Provost website.

Steps to ensure fiscal health

Forecasted declines in tuition revenue coupled with unfunded commitments from the current fiscal year have prompted the university to ask campuses, colleges and administrative units to plan for a 6% reduction of core funds for FY-2024. In addition, the need to address salary deficiencies that threatened the accreditation of the College of Nursing as well as critical deferred maintenance and system costs were among the unexpected expenses the WSU system had to absorb during the current fiscal year.

Chancellors, vice presidents and area leaders will need to actively manage job vacancies and hiring needs in order to realize these core fund reductions.

Several factors impacting the financial health of the university, including the state biennial operating and capital budgets, final tuition rates and actual enrollment, remain in flux.

“While it is possible that our financial outlook for the upcoming fiscal year could improve in the months ahead, it is vital that we prepare for the situation as forecast with the information currently available to us,” Pearson said.

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