Fiscal Year 2025 budget includes strategic reallocation of core funds

Washington State University logo.

Washington State University is implementing a strategic reallocation of core fund budgets resulting in reductions to units totaling $5.5 million for the 2025 fiscal year. These reductions represent a less than 1% cut to the $1.3 billion all funds annual budget and a 1.61% reduction to the core fund operating budget.

The new budget is the first time in several years of reductions that WSU has set varying amounts, ranging as high as 5% for some of the university’s 44 separate budgeting units, rather than uniform across-the-board cuts. The strategic approach also recognizes WSU is unable to continue funding all existing levels of operations and will focus instead on those that are in most demand by students, research and the communities served by the university system.

“WSU must adapt and evolve to meet changing needs,” said WSU System President Kirk Schulz. “Protecting and prioritizing education and research is paramount. This process was essential in ensuring we’re being strategic in meeting those needs and discovering new ways to support future revenue streams for WSU.”

Detailed budget reduction figures are being shared with college, campus and administrative unit leaders this week.

“WSU has been reducing budgets for successive years in a way that assumed revenue lost from enrollment declines would rebound in the next fiscal year,” said Chief Financial Officer and Executive Vice President Leslie Brunelli, who joined WSU in 2023. “This is not a sustainable financial model. The reallocation is necessary as persistent enrollment pressure and escalating costs demand that we do less with less. Like many institutions across the country, we’re challenged to find ways to reduce some activities and offerings to thoughtfully protect our core mission, while supporting areas that have revenue growth possibilities.”

The 2025 budget development process included a return to unit budget hearings with more than 20 hours dedicated to 44 unit meetings to assess the impact of additional budget cuts of 1%, 3%, and 5% and to gather new funding needs. Budget decisions focus resources to increase enrollment and serve more students across the system, preserve academic areas to the maximum extent possible, and protect grant-generated indirect cost recovery (Facilities & Administrative — F&A) funds from reduction to continue research support.

As part of the budget development process, to assess additional unit reductions and determine reallocation priorities, a set of guiding principles was utilized:

  • Ensuring the university’s financial sustainability through evaluation of existing administrative and academic programs
  • Promoting an analytics-oriented approach to understanding program investments
  • Recognition that campuses, schools and colleges, and administrative and support units have varied resource needs, autonomy, and service level expectations
  • Aligning the university’s financial position with the development of the (future) strategic plan, capital campaign goals, and institutional risks
  • Promoting equity through increased transparency and accountability
  • Providing clarity in alignment of resource allocation and outcomes with accountability for budget responsibility
  • Balancing the need for increased resources to recruit, retain and develop faculty and staff with revenue growth, enhanced efficiencies, and reallocated resources

Overall, units requested more than $42 million in new, ongoing funding and an additional $32 million in one-time funding on top of the projected shortfall. New investments and reallocations will include:

  • $1.5 million in operational support and essential data collection and analysis improvements
  • $1.7 million in marketing efforts to increase WSU’s brand recognition, student interest, and demand for a WSU education
  • Reallocation of resources to generate $2.3 million, which, combined with $2 million in new state funds, provides $4.3 million to help cover some of the cost of the new contract with Academic Student Employees
  • Reallocation of  funds to increase support for sponsored program activity and generate additional research funds, including:
    • $625,000 in funding to Sponsored Programs Services in FY24 to sustain improvements to post-award research support
    • $1.1 million to Office of Research

In early preparation for the next cycle of strategic planning and budget development, President Kirk Schulz has directed Brunelli and incoming Provost T. Chris Riley-Tillman to partner closely with the Faculty Senate and others to develop a comprehensive review process of WSU’s academic programs and administrative services beginning in the 2025 fiscal year.

Detailed budget documents showing unit-level reductions and other aspects of the strategic reallocation are expected to be available online by the end of the fiscal year.

Next Story

WSU Insider will be back Tuesday

The staff at WSU Insider hopes you make the most of your Memorial Day holiday. Fresh posting will resume Tuesday. If you’re looking for thoughtful reading this holiday weekend, consider this 2019 article about Carson College of Business’s Matt Beer and his efforts to honor fallen heroes like Air Force Captain Larry Trimble, a Palouse native and WSU graduate who […]

Recent News

Reflecting on the spring semester

In a letter to the WSU community, President Kirk Schulz emphasizes the university’s commitment to free speech and the importance of recognizing our shared humanity.