Colleges give about half of funds to other offices; deans satisfied with process

There is never enough money to fulfill an academic institution’s wishlist, but deans at Central Michigan University are satisfied with the overall funding model.

On average, 54.5 percent of revenue generated by the six colleges at CMU is transferred out of their budgets to fund other entities on campus.

David Burdette, vice president of Finance and Administrative Services, said how much each college allocates is determined by an assessment rate — an overhead for financing areas on campus that don’t generate revenue.

“That’s the assessment out and on average it’s around 50 percent,” he said.

2010-11 projected totals

Colleges • Science & Technology • Communication & Fine Arts • Humanities, Social & Behavioral Sciences • Education & Human ServicesBusiness Administration • Business Administration • Health Professions • Medicine

Total Revenue • 57,885,109 • 36,265,315 • 76,446,147 • 48,167,522 • 44,668,801 • 34,448,088 • 0

Transfers In (Out) • (28,180,011) • (18,626,966) • (46,860,951) • (28,248,253) • (23,933,176) • (18,452,409) • 2,251,694

Percentage transferred • 48.7% • 51.4% • 61.3% • 58.6% • 53.6% • 53.6% • N/A

*The listed information corresponds with the order of colleges.

Non-revenue generating entities on campus, such as the Office of the Registrar, Scholarships and Financial Aid, Admissions and Student Account Services, Burdette said, are sensitive to increased student enrollment and their concerns must be considered.

Each college works with the Office of Institutional Research to determine its assessment rate based on factors such as enrollment and student credit hours, Burdette said. Next year, assessment rates will be re-evaluated, which he said happens every three years.

The re-evaluation takes place to ensure fairness, Burdette said.

“Our role on the administrative side of the house is to make sure (the non-revenue generating entities) get represented as well and that’s down to the finite decimal point of what that assessment rate is,” he said.

College assessments

Kathy Koch, College of Education and Human Services interim dean, said her college has the second highest assessment rate behind the College of Humanities, Social and Behavioral Sciences.

According to CMU’s 2009-10 operating budget, 59.6 percent of funds generated by CEHS were transferred out to fund other campus units. Koch said the assessment rate is fair.

“Everything here at the university is here because it makes the university work,” she said.

No programs have been cut in order to stay within the parameters of the college’s budget, she said.

“We have been very careful and conservative in making sure that we can support the programs that we have in a manner that will keep them high quality,” Koch said.

Burdette said if someone from one of the colleges objects to the assessment rate, they always have the opportunity to discuss the issue with him.

Jane Matty, College of Science and Technology interim dean, said the current process employed to allocate funds works better than previous methods.

“The process that we’re using right now works well,” she said. “It allows us to plan and shift funding around as the needs change.”

According to the 2009-10 operating budget, 48.5 percent of funds generated by CST were transferred out to fund other campus units.

CST has more expensive equipment and supply needs to run their laboratories and other facilities than other colleges, Matty said, but they do well with what they get to keep.

“Obviously, if you had more money you could do more, but I think we ... have some very effective programs,” she said.

Salma Ghanem, dean of the College of Communication and Fine Arts, said the funding model, called responsibility centered management, allows funding to stay within the college after the assessment fee is paid. She said this is different than at most universities where colleges are given a pre-determined budget.

“I like the model,” she said. “I think the model empowers the various colleges.”

CCFA transferred 51.3 percent of its generated funds to other campus units in 2009-10.

Chris Ingersoll, dean of the Herbert H. and Grace A. Dow College of Health Professions, said the challenge is to continue to operate high quality, relevant programs with the available resources. CHP dished out 54.1 percent of its funds to other campus units, according to the 2009-10 operating budget.

“It is always challenging to operate growing academic programs ... in an environment where budgets are tight,” he said in an e-mailed response. “We will continue to carefully use our resources to deliver the high quality programs that are expected of our college.”

Nel Boose, business services coordinator for CEHS, said assessment rates are configured by subtracting total projected expenses from total projected revenue to get the gross margin before operating assessment. Dividing the GMBOA by total revenue projected yields the operating tax percentage.

Pamela Gates, interim dean of CHSBS and College of Business Administration Dean Charles Crespy were unavailable for comment. CBA paid out 53.5 percent and CHSBS paid out 61.3 percent of its revenue in assessment fees, according to the 2009/2010 operating budget.


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