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Budget Optimization Initiative

Idaho State University’s Budget Optimization Initiative is a multi-year process led by the Budget Advisory Group to strategically balance Central University Fund revenues and expenditures. 

This initiative will be led with the same agile and iterative, collaborative, and principle-driven approach used to develop ISU’s new budget model. It will involve extensive involvement with all units and stakeholder groups as we garner the collective best thinking of the campus community.

Areas of Focus:

  • Continued growth in enrollment and net tuition revenue
  • Growing and leveraging other revenue sources in alignment with ISU’s strategic plan and academic and research plan
  • Scaling successes and best practices University-wide
  • Examining our scholarship and discounting practices
  • Evaluating organizational and financial structures
  • Focusing on efficiencies and effectiveness
  • Expanding our data set and looking at benchmark data from peer institutions
  • Budget reallocations and reductions based on established parameters and criteria
  • Short term measures to reduce draw down of central reserves 

Timeline:

Recommendations will be brought to Leadership Council then Administrative Council for approval and will go into effect during the FY2025 and FY2026 budget cycles.

Review the background document link for more information about this initiative. 

Contact:

Jen Steele, Chief Fiscal Officer, jennifersteele@isu.edu, 208.282.4277

Overall Progress Report:

Please review the Budget Optimization Initiative's progress report for the overall status of the initiative.

Budget Optimization Projects result in report(s) from the Project's Work Team, who submit the report(s) to Administrative Council for approval. The approved recommendations are posted here for convenience. If you want to see an entire report from a Project Work Team, look at the Budget Optimizations Reports section. 

Early College Approved Budget Optimization Recommendations

Approved 9.13.23

  • The Early College Program (ECP) revenue split will be modified, increasing the central university fund percentage to 35% (from 23%) and reviewed annually. Conservative forecasts estimate this will result in an additional $300,000 in central fund revenue annually.
  • The ECP will leverage connections with high school students by hiring a Matriculation Coordinator to help ECP students better understand how their ECP experience has advanced their standing and shortened their time to degree at ISU. This position will be funded from the ECP local funds.
  • The ECP will explore expanding ECP-funded student scholarships to increase ISU matriculation. Any changes will be made in alignment with the Scholarship Practices Budget Optimization Initiative.
  • ISU will implement the “Dual Enroll” registration system in order to increase ISU dual credit enrollment and resolve long-standing frustrations with current systems and technology.
  • The ECP will work more closely with the ISU Office of Admissions (and Visitors Center) to facilitate greater matriculation to ISU.
  • The ECP budget optimization process will continue over the next year, with additional recommendations forthcoming.

Project Leads:

    • Cody Fitch
    • Cindy Hill

Project Initiative: Early College Operating and Financial Structures

Scope of Work:

    • Review Early College program mission, goals, and outcomes
    • Review current operating and financial structure
    • Review synergies and redundancies with Enrollment Management and other areas
    • Review opportunities for increased matriculation
    • Review pros/cons of having Early College roll up to Central University Funds
    • Present recommendations for optimization

Kick-Off Date: March 2023

Review Dates:

    • Dean’s Council July 26th, 2023
    • Budget Advisory Group August 25th, 2023
    • Administrative Council September 13th, 2023

Project Leads:

    • Jen Steele
    • Russ Mayer

Project Initiative: Transfers & Subsidies Operating & Financial Structures

Scope of Work:

    • Inventory current central transfers and subsidies, history, and agreements
    • Review with unit leads and UBOs
    • Present recommendations for any updates or changes

Kick-Off Date: March 2023

Review Dates:

    • TBD

Project Leads:

    • Jen Steele
    • Cody Fitch

Project Initiative: Online Program Fees Operating & Financial Structures

Scope of Work:

    • Review individual Online Program forming documents, goals, outcomes
    • Review individual Online Program revenue and expenditure structures
    • Review current revenue splits
    • Explore opportunities for standardization
    • Develop options for ensuring fiscal sustainability in both local and Central University funds
    • Present recommendations for optimization, which could include a phase-in plan for any changes

Kick-Off Date: March 2023

Review Dates:

    • TBD

Project Leads: Lisa Leyshon

Project Initiative: Purchasing, Shared Service Models

Scope of Work:

    • Review opportunities for shared contracts and cost savings within ISU and with peers
    • Present options and recommendations for budget optimization

Kick-Off Date: July 2023

Review Dates:

  • TBD

Project Leads:

  • Jen Steele
  • Megan Baskins

Project Initiative: Student Activity Fees, Operating & Financial Structures

Scope of Work:

    • Inventory current student activity fees
    • Document fee purpose and uses in alignment with ISU’s mission and strategic plan
    • Analyze trends: rates, revenue, expenditures, fund balances
    • Present recommendations for optimization

Kick-Off Date: March 2023

Review Dates:

    • TBD

Project Leads:

    • Jen Steele
    • Fred Parrish

Project Initiative: Administrative & Service Unit Allocation Model, Operating & Finance Structures

Scope of Work:

    • Using the budget model data set, benchmarking data, and peer review, develop options for a budget allocation model for Administrative and Service Units
    • Analyze options and impacts with unit and division leads
    • Revise and refine model
    • Present recommendations

Kick-Off Date: September 2023

Review Dates:

    • TBD

Project Leads:

    • Jen Steele
    • Megan Baskins

Project Initiative: Benchmarking, Data

Scope of Work:

    • Identify resource(s) for benchmarking academic and administrative support units
    • Select resource(s) and submit the required data and information
    • Apply and analyze benchmark results with unit and division leads
    • Develop recommendations for utilizing benchmark data to develop a service unit budget allocation model and update college allocation model
    • Identify additional opportunities for budget optimization 
    • Present recommendations

Kick-Off Date: March 2023

Review Dates:

    • TBD

Project Leads:

    • Corey Zink
    • Cathy Wooton

Project Initiative: Scholarship Practices, Operating & Financial

Scope of Work:

    • Review current scholarship grid, other internally funded scholarships, foundation scholarships,  distribution practices
    • Review best practices (UI, others)
    • Ensure ISU scholarship practices align with and support the Strategic Enrollment Management plan.
    • Develop options for reducing internal scholarship expenses to include use of Foundation funds and sequencing of awards
    • Present recommendations

Kick-Off Date: April 2023

Review Dates:

    • TBD

Project Leads: 

    • Marc Pino
    • Sam Orme

Project Initiative: Transportation and Motor Pool, Operating & Financial Structures

Scope of Work:

    • Review current operating and financial structures, including revenue, expense, maintenance, capital repair, and replacement
    • Meet with units to understand current transportation and motor pool practices, utilization, needs, issues, and opportunities
    • Explore opportunities for partnering with the College of Technology
    • Review best practices at peer institutions and benchmark data
    • Develop options for improved efficiency, service, value-added activities, and budget savings
  • Present recommendations for optimization

Kick-Off Date: August 2023

Review Dates:

    • TBD

Project Leads:

    • Jen Steele
    • Angie Dobbins

Project Initiative: Non-Academic Revenue Growth, Revenue Growth

Scope of Work:

    • Review current structures for non-academic revenue growth
    • Research best practices
    • Develop options for new or improved structures that:
      • Incentivize units to grow revenue streams aligned with ISU’s mission
      • Align with strategic plans and priorities
      • Increase net revenue and resources for ISU
      • Contribute to central university funds
    • Present recommendations for optimization

Kick-Off Date: July 2023

Review Dates:

    • TBD

Project Leads:

    • Jen Steele
    • Cindy Hill

Project Initiative: Academic Program Growth, Revenue Growth

Scope of Work:

    • Review current structures for supporting academic program growth
    • Research best practices
    • Develop options for new or improved structures that:
      • Incentivize program development to attract new students and/or markets
      • Increase student enrollment, access, opportunity, retention, and success
      • Align with strategic plans and priorities
      • Increase net revenue and resources for ISU
    • Present recommendations for optimization

Kick-Off Date: August 2023

Review Dates:

    • TBD

Project Leads:

Project Initiative: Technology, Shared Service Models

Scope of Work:

    • Create a shared service model with information technology staff and resources housed under a central umbrella
    • Research best practices in higher education information technology services and structures
    • Inventory current information technology operations, resources, staffing, expenditures, and organizational structures at ISU
    • Meet with units to identify information technology service and support needs, strengths, issues/gaps, and opportunities
    • Identify opportunities for increased service, efficiency, efficacy, and budget savings to reach established budget goals while assuring optimal service and security needs
    • Present recommendations

Kick-Off Date:  Summer 2023

Review Dates:

    • TBD

Project Leads:

    • Jennifer Steele
    • Cindy Hill

Project Initiative: Continuing Education, Operating and Financial Structures

Scope of Work:

    • Define terms
    • Inventory and review current operating and financial structures
    • Review NWCCU standards
    • Research best practices for continuing education structures
    • Review opportunities for increased coordination, efficiency, enrollment, and revenue generation
      • Marketing
      • Registration and transcripting
      • State reporting 
      • Staffing and student/customer service
      • Revenue sharing
    • Present recommendations for optimization

Kick-Off Date: October 2023

Review Dates: March 2024

Project Leads:

    • Patience Ternus

Project Initiative: Administrative Support Services, Shared Service Models

Scope of Work:

    • Research best practices in higher education administrative service models
    • Meet with units to identify administrative support needs, issues, and opportunities
    • Research consolidated and hybrid administrative support structures that emphasize shared services
    • Evaluate workloads of positions
    • Inventory current software solutions and applications and related technology resources
    • Identify opportunities for increased service, efficiency, efficacy, and budget savings while assuring optimal coverage, support, and service
    • Identify opportunities for professional and career development and progression for administrative staff
    • Analyze costs, benefits, and resource allocation implications
    • Present recommendations

Kick-Off Date: December 2023

Review Dates: June 2024

Project Leads:

    • Miriam Dance

Project Initiative: Marking and Communications 

Scope of Work:

    • Meet with units to identify MarCommservice and support needs by examining  strengths, issues/gaps, and opportunities
    • Research best practices in higher education MarCom services and structures
    • Inventory current MarCom operations, resources, staffing, expenditures, and organizational structures at ISU
    • Identify opportunities for increased service, efficiency, efficacy, and budget savings while assuring optimal service and MarCom needs
    • Present recommendations

Kick-Off Date: January 2024

Review Dates: Fall 2024

Budget Optimization Work Teams coming soon:

  • Shared Service Models
  • Idaho Falls and Polytechnic