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Keith Ickes

Financial Forecast: Sound Decisions + Planning = “On Budget”

The student enrollment counts are in, and as the University finishes up the first quarter of the current fiscal year, leadership says that the University will meet its financial projections and remain “on budget” for the year.

“All in all, we see no significant changes,” says Keith Ickes, executive director of planning and budget. “I think we made sound budget decisions in the spring. We’re certainly in a better position financially than we have been over the last four years of the global economic difficulties.”

By making sound decisions and planning more strategically for the current fiscal year, Ickes says the budget is in good shape. In addition, there are no mid-year funding holdback discussions at the state level for universities, so anticipated state funding is holding.

“As President Nellis likes to say, ‘the University is turning the corner financially,’” says Ickes. “We’re definitely looking beyond the earlier budget cuts we made and are addressing some long-standing budget issues.”

Although there is a clear institutional commitment to continued enrollment growth, the budget for this year was prepared using a conservative assumption of no enrollment growth. The 10th-day enrollment numbers showed a very small overall enrollment growth and, as a result, the budget revenue stream is on track with the plan.

“We might do a little better than we planned for in the budget, depending on what spring enrollment looks like,” says Ickes.

In addition to planning ahead, some changes were made to the budget structure for the current fiscal year, like permanently funding previous temporary budget additions/promises.
So while units may not see more funds, they at least won’t have to search for the funding in other places. One such change has been in the restructuring of financial aid, which will enable institutional aid to be used more strategically to meet both student needs and institutional enrollment goals.

As the crunch eases, Ickes says the University is still looking to generate long-term revenue increases, but at substantial levels, like $100,000 to as much as a  $1 million.

“We’re looking to better position ourselves financially,” says Ickes. “While small revenue increases can help, we need to keep our focus on changes that will result in significant revenue opportunities that also help to enhance the overall image of the institution. We have a solid foundation in programs to accomplish this goal. We are moving to the solid financial foundation to make that possible as well.