Published: Feb. 28, 2014
Sign up for a Coffee and the Campus Budget session on the CU-Boulder Events Calendar.
Sessions will be held on March 13, 17, 20 and 26 as well as April 4 and 24.
This is the second in a series of campus budget articles you will see in CU-Boulder Today over the next couple of months. As many of you know, the campus has three different funding sources – education and general funds; auxiliary funds; and the restricted budget. Today we will explore the category of education and general funds.
In FY 2014, the campus has a total budget of $1.3 billion. Education and general funds make up $614 million of that total, while auxiliary funds total $309 million and restricted funds make up $368 million. 

What revenues comprise the campus education and general funds?

  1. State government funding is provided by the state of Colorado. The university receives this state funding to support general operations and financial aid. The amount received from the state is determined annually and is influenced by the state legislature, the Colorado Department of Higher Education, the state’s economic condition and overall state budget pressures. Currently state funding is 4.4 percent of our total budget.
  2. Student tuition and fees is the largest revenue category for the campus and represents what students are billed to attend the university. By Colorado statute the Board of Regents, the university’s governing body, annually sets tuition and fees. Tuition and fees represent 82 percent of the Education and General Funds, and 37 percent of the University’s entire budget.
  3. Sales and services of educational activities are incidental revenues that are not directly associated with instruction. Examples include film rentals, recreation center classes and journal publications.
  4. Other sources include fees, fines, rental income and internal sales. There are many support services for students, faculty and staff. Application fees, library fines and room rentals for events/seminars are examples of this category. Due to the breadth of campus operations, campus departments may buy goods and services from other campus departments. For example, a student group may purchase catering services from the student union.

How does our level of funding from the state and tuition compare to our peers?

While our tuition for resident students is about on par with the average of our peer public universities, you will see by the chart below that our state funding received per student is the lowest of our peer group. That means that we are challenged to find ways to operate more efficiently and to generate revenue other than tuition, if we are not to raise tuition rapidly.

Where Does the Education and General Fund Money Go?

Across higher education institutions, the following eight categories are the common categories of expenditure types:
  1. Instruction is the largest expense category for the university. It includes all programs and activities that deliver instruction in our academic programs. An example is faculty and staff salaries related to teaching.
  2. Academic Support is for programs and activities that support instruction and the academic landscape. Departments like the libraries, information technology, dean’s offices and advising are examples of areas on campus that provide academic support.
  3. Student Services primarily funds student-centric activities. Examples include the registrar’s office, financial aid office, dean of students and admissions.
  4. Research relates to research projects and direct support services for research, such as pre- and post-award activities. This does not include the restricted research grant funding. 
  5. Scholarships are financial aid that include all forms of student financial support - ranging from need-based financial aid to graduate student fellowships.
  6. Administrative Support is for the general administration of the campus. Examples include the accounting, budget and human resources offices.
  7. Operations of Maintenance and Plant is for the operating and maintenance of facilities and includes the campus police department.
  8. Public Service is for educational activities that are intended primarily to serve the general public.

How does CU-Boulder stack-up against our peers in spending to operate the campus?

The chart below is based on data from the most recent year available, and shows how CU-Boulder compares with our public peers in the money we spend per-student on administrative overhead – instructional and institutional support.
  • On a per-student basis, CU-Boulder spends near the peer average for instruction, the campus and the core mission.
  • We spend much less than all others on administration.
  • In all other expense categories, we spend well below the peer average.

Watch CU-Boulder Today for more articles in the “Taking charge of our future” budget series, and sign up for a Coffee and the Campus Budget session to learn more about our institution’s funding and budgeting process.