Vandal Hybrid Budget Model
The Vandal Hybrid Budget Model is a fresh approach to our university budgeting process. The working group recommendation to be implemented Thursday, July 1, considers four things:
- Mission Alignment – The model must help us achieve our land-grant mission, support student success and promote research and discovery.
- Transparency – The model, and its implementation, must be accessible to the entire university community.
- Agility and Adaption – The model must allow university leadership to correct and guide, support continuous improvement, enable U of I to respond to the state’s educational needs and provide training for in-demand jobs.
- Incentive-Based – The model must promote efficiencies and encourage entrepreneurial and interdisciplinary ideas.
Sustainable Financial Model Working Group
Financial Model Working Group - FAQ’s
Budgets have been cut significantly in the past few years. Is now the right time to implement a new method of allocating budget?
Now is the right time to implement a new method. We have addressed our financial issues, set ourselves on a path to meet financial goals and are ready to reinvest in ourselves. Implementing a hybrid model with incentive- and performance-based aspects will bring innovation and focus to the budget process and ultimately make us a financially healthy university for future generations.
The model consists of five organizational categories. Success for some of the categories will be based on hitting metrics and others on enrollment averages increasing or generating self-funded growth. One category will remain on the incremental model. Overall success will be measured by a balanced operating budget and building up of reserves while still being able to invest in strategic initiatives.
No. The model focuses only on general education dollars.
Why is there so much focus on undergraduate enrollment? There are plenty of other ways my unit is contributing.
Both undergraduate and graduate student enrollment are priorities, as enrollment growth is the primary lever we have to increase revenues. The budget model is intended to incentivize growth in this area and is one way a unit benefits from success.
In terms of the metrics specific to academic colleges – there are many factors that could be considered, but each would add more complexity with diminishing returns. The undergraduate enrollment metric is weighted higher as it’s an area of opportunity for quick growth without the need to add significant overhead or infrastructure.
How does the Category 5 (academic colleges) metric on undergraduate enrollment blend with the R1 goal?
There are multiple metrics in the financial model incentivizing performance and behaviors to move our university forward. One of the multiple metrics is undergraduate enrollment. Starting in FY22, 10% of the academic college budget will be tied to metrics; only a portion of that will be tied to enrollment. It is only one funding tool and does not negate the importance of Ph.D.s and post-docs. Our P3 investment is another tool. P3 is structured to significantly support graduate education and research. We cannot achieve our goals with just one tool but must combine them in ways that make sense to get the most return from our investments.
These details are still being worked out, but we must remember this incentive applies to a very small portion of the overall budget.
This model represents a single piece of the overall budget picture. A portion of P3 funding, which is not included in the financial model, is being invested to support our drive to R1 status.
It is possible the incentives will change as we succeed in increasing enrollment. The model is a framework and the metrics are intended to be fluid to help the university achieve strategic goals.
It is clear our current model does not work. The new hybrid model includes parts of proven models for institutions of our size. In its first year, the categories with metrics will be applied to a small percentage of the budget, and units will have a year to work on them. This will allow us to transition slowly, test the model and adjust as appropriate.
Enrollment seems to be a key focus. How can I/my college be more engaged in the recruitment process?
Everyone at our university has a role in recruitment and retention. Talk to your college recruiters and leadership to learn more about your college’s tactics. Other units should identify their role and articulate how each person plays a part. We each have our own story to tell about why we are Vandals. Tell that story proudly to anyone who will listen.
Our goal is not to define a perfect set of metrics to drive every ideal behavior that will result in so many that our outcomes won’t be focused. For right now, we are encouraging the behaviors we need to emphasize at this moment.
Per the white paper developed by the Sustainable Financial Model Working Group, we must and will protect mission-centric programs. Through an annual process of assessment and analysis of unintended consequences, we will address this very question.
Will the model be positioned externally as a tool that enables us to better meet our mission and vision?
Yes – we can talk internally and externally about the model as a tool that is helping the University of Idaho achieve financial health and focus on strategic areas of growth.
The goal is a 1500 to 2000 increase in enrollment. What is the timeline for that goal? Is it realistic? It was over a decade ago when enrollment was at those higher levels.
It is important to know this enrollment level will put us in a position of financial strength and free us up to invest in even more strategic areas. However, in this early phase of implementing the financial model, rolling out new marketing and enrollment management strategies and launching a more aggressive approach to our online opportunities – we are not in a position to declare a certain timeline for this goal. Bottom line, we need to increase enrollment and when we get to our goal, we will celebrate and then keep working on all of these same strategies to maintain it.
Do you have further questions specific to the Vandal Hybrid Model?
Chandra Zenner Ford
President’s Office Executive Sponsor
Provost and EVP co-chair
VP Finance and Administration co‑chair
retired CFO Simplot
retired Chairman Deloitte
retired CFO Albertsons
Dean College of Law
Chair, Faculty Senate College of Business and Economics
Vice Chair Staff Council
Director Admin Services, College of Agriculture and Life Sciences
Recorder: Patty Houle