FAQ

This set of Frequently Asked Questions is intended to provide a general overview of work flow within the KU Budget Office.

Frequently, the questions which reach the Budget Office are laden with complicated
circumstances that are out of the ordinary. This document is not intended to address these complicated situations (because in many cases, the answer is “it depends”) but to focus on the more common transactions / questions.

General

Operations

Payroll / Appointment processing

Reporting

Working Budget Prepartion

GENERAL

What does the Budget Office really do?

Our ongoing responsibilities include:

  • Coordinate preparation of the annual (working) budget for the Lawrence campus
    • Using guidelines provided by the Provost’s Office, gather the information for the upcoming year from the deans and vice provosts 
    • Transmit new fiscal year pay rates to HRSA (HR/Payroll system)
    • Transmit new fiscal year funding distributions to HRSA
    • Provide Financial System (FSKU) with opening entries
      • allocation amounts for organization ledger 
      • allocation amounts for appropriation ledger 
      • initial revenue estimates for restricted use funds 
  • Monitor the Budget Transfer process throughout the year
    • Maintain fund balances between budget and financial systems
    • Make necessary adjustments to fund balance totals throughout the year 
  • Maintain Cost Center tables and trees
  • Oversight of payroll processing within most academic units
  • GTA processing
    • Appointment processing
    • Fee Waiver Authorization
      • As described in the KU Comprehensive Fee Schedule, waiver percents associated with GTA appointments includes:
      • GTA appointments of 40% or more carry a 100% fee waiver
      • GTA appointments of 30-39% or more carry a 75% fee waiver
      • GTA appointments of 20-29% or more carry a 50% fee waiver
      • GTA appointments of 10-19% or more carry a 25% fee waiver
  • Cash management        
    • Work with the comptroller’s office to assure that expenditure levels at year-end meet the desired goals for each fund.
  • Monitor Tuition Collections and Revise Revenue Estimate as needed
    • Analyze patterns of total assessments, waivers, and net assessments 
  • Develop and implement reporting systems to facilitate budgetary management
  • Prepare the Annual Budget Request to the legislature – due in September of each year

Special project assignments (Fall 2005)

  • System Implementation
    • Participate in upgrade activities for the Financial System
      • Scheduled for December 2005/February 2006
    • Participate in upgrade activities for the Payroll System
      • To be determined
  • Tuition Assessment
    • Participation on work group to simplify the internal processes by which tuition is assessed and valid waivers applied
    • Participate in work group charged with the task of implementing a four-year guaranteed tuition rate for the new frosh entering Fall 2007.
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How would I see a copy of the University’s Annual Operating Budget?

Each year a copy of the university’s budget is sent to University Archives where it is available to the public at the Spencer Research Library. Inquire at the front desk on the third floor.

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What is the budget cycle?

The university’s fiscal year runs from July 1 to June 30 of the following year.

Each September the university submits an annual budget request to the legislature. When the legislature convenes in January, the Governor makes his/her budgetary recommendations for the fiscal year beginning in July. Throughout the spring, the legislature debates various plans and funding needs. The legislative portion is typically completed in May. Of key interest to the university are the amounts included in the appropriations bill for the University of Kansas and the Kansas Board of Regents.

During late spring the university prepares its recommended tuition rates for the upcoming academic year. These recommendations are taken to the Board of Regents for “first reading” in May and for final approval at the June board meeting.

With the expectation that tuition rates will be approved as proposed, the Budget Office works with the appropriate offices within the university community to create a budget for the upcoming year. Certain incremental pieces are associated with the tuition increases and the budget recommendations are collected in such a way that these components can be removed in the event the approved tuition rates differ from that which was proposed.

Information is taken from the budget file(s) and integrated into the Human Resources /  Payroll system – the critical pieces of information are 1) funding distribution of payroll costs for positions and pools and 2) pay-rates for faculty and unclassified staff [and university support staff should the legislature authorize the university to be removed from the civil service].

Funding distribution is loaded into the payroll system mid-June. Information on pay rates is not loaded until the Board of Regents has approved the tuition increases and officially set the block-grant transfer.

The budget file is also the source of information for the opening entries into the KU financial system (FSKU) – the information for initial allocations and revenue estimates is loaded into both the organization and appropriation ledgers

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How is the university’s budget determined?

Beginning with Fiscal Year 2002, the universities under the governance of the Kansas Board of Regents have operated under a “block-grant” funding model.

Under the block-grant, the Board of Regents is appropriated an amount of money which is subsequently transferred to each of the schools – with the Board of Regents determining the amount of each school’s transfer.

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What is the difference between General Use and Restricted Use funds?

General Use – Includes both state tax dollars and revenue generated by tuition. Units with allocations of these funds are not responsible for generating the associated revenue. However, in the case of a budgetary rescission (of State General Fund monies), university practice has been to spread the necessary reduction to those units funded from the General Use monies shown immediately below:

  • Appropriations from the State General Fund (KU Funds 003 and 033);
  • State Water Plan Fund (KU 034);
  • Interest on Endowment (KU 540); and
  • All funding sources derived from tuition such as
    • 099 – General Fees (base tuition)
    • 088 – KU Technology Fund (from Tuition Enhancement)

Included under the General Use label, BUT, the units spending these funds are also responsible for generating the associated revenue:

    • 091 – 098 – School-specific differential tuitions
    • 110 – Regents Center Development Fund

Restricted Use – Includes all funding types in which the revenue source is neither state appropriations nor tuition funds. Restricted Use monies include the flow-through of federal funds for Student Financial Aid and workstudy, but the most common type of restricted fee funded units are those responsible for generating their own revenue.

  • Auxiliary Enterprises – provide services to the KU Community – faculty, staff, and/or student
    • Student Health Center (510)
    • Student Housing (555)
    • Parking Services (590)
  • Service Clearing Units– generate revenue by providing (selling) services to other campus departments
    • Service Clearing (580) – such as Networking and Telecommunication Services
    • Facilities Operations Vehicle Rental
    • Student Housing Warehousing
    • Previously, Service Clearing units included the KU Printing Services, Office Supply Store, and Furniture Store. 
  • Income generated by providing services to the general public including:
    • Continuing Education Revenue ( 300)
    • Lied Center Concert Fees (766)
    • University Press (778)
  • Grants
  • Miscellaneous
    • KUEA Reimbursable Salaries (725)
  • Student Fees – Required Campus fees – in addition to tuition, amounts paid by students as a condition of enrollment
    • Student Health Fee (510)
    • Student Recreation & Fitness Center Fee (754)
    • Student Union Fee (520)
    • Student Union Renovation Fee (514)
    • Student Senate Activity Fee (758)
    • Student Media Fee (752)
    • Women’s & Non-Revenue Intercollegiate Sports (756)
    • Educational Opportunity Fee (755)
    • Campus Safety Fee (757)
    • Child Care Facility Construction Fee (748)
    • Campus Transportation Fee (747)
    • Campus Environmental Fee (746)
    • Legal Services for Students Fee (745)
    • Newspaper Readership Fee (759)
    • Multicultural Resource Center Construction Fee (744)
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OPERATIONS

Budget Transfers


How do I amend my current year budget? Units may modify their current year budgets by submitting a Budget Transfer Form (BTF).
What Budget Transfers must be completed by the Budget Office? A transfer that crosses appropriations or involves salaries must be done by processing a paper Budget Transfer Form available on our website under “Forms and Downloads”, acquiring proper signatures for your department  and submitting it to the Budget Office for entry.  This form may be downloaded and completed in excel.  Fill in the “From” department and appropriation with a brief explanation and the amount of FTE and dollars.  Fill in the “To” side of the transfer to move the funds temporarily during the fiscal year.  A permanent transfer will actually be completed during the Budget Cycle Period.  For more information on how to complete these transfers see “Budget Transfers” on the Budget Office website. NOTE: Transfers that are submitted in an attempt to transfer monies from one fund to another fund will not be processed.
What sorts of transfers can be done without involving the Budget Office? It is possible for units to move money between cost centers within their department's OOE accounts. This may be done  on-line within the Financial System.  Instructions are posted on our website under “Budget Transfers.”

Note: Budgeteers at the dean and/or vice provost level are able to transfer funds within their own area of responsibility without sending paperwork to the Budget Office.

Tree & Cost Center Maintenance

What is the purpose of a cost center? Cost Centers can be set-up to track expenditures or revenue associated with a specific activity. Using a cost center allows such expenditures and/or revenues to be identified and kept separate from other activities within the department. Cost centers should not be set up in order to track OOE expenditures from each other; OOE expenditures can be tracked using the account codes associated with them.

How do I establish a new cost center?  A new cost center can be set up using the “Cost Center Maintenance Form” which can be found on the Budget Office web-site. It may be helpful to use the Budget Department ID Tree (available on our web-site) to fill out this form.  You must determine what appropriation the cost center will “roll up to” and indicate whether there will be revenue deposited and/or whether the cost center will have payroll expense.

What is a PCS code?  The PCS code is a code that describes a particular activity within the university, e.g. instruction, research, public service, academic support, student services, institutional support, or physical plant. The Budget Office works with the Comptroller’s Office to ensure that the code for each cost center is accurately assigned. (A single department may have activities that are assigned to different PCS values.) Reporting venues which utilize the PCS values are the Annual Financial Report (prepared by the Comptroller’ Office); the Annual Budget Request (submitted to the Board of Regents and the Legislature); the IPEDS reports (Integrated Postsecondary Education Data Systems) report; and the KU Cost Study.

How and why do I set up a revenue estimate?  For restricted use funds appearing in the budget, a revenue estimate will be established as opening entries into the financial system. This initial estimate will be equal to the expenditure amount that is budgeted for that cost center and fund. As the year progresses, it may be necessary to revise the estimate – either to increase or decrease the projected revenue amount. When changes are made to the revenue estimate, it is also necessary to show how the expenditure budgets will be impacted – salaries (individual positions or pools), travel, supplies and expenses, or equipment.

Budgeteers are encouraged to make the revenue estimate appearing in the opening entries as realistic as possible. For instance, the initial estimate might be based on amounts collected in previous years with the impact of revenue streams from new initiatives or declining revenue streams. 

How are carry forward amounts determined from one fiscal year to another? As part of the process of closing out the previous Fiscal Year, the Comptroller’s Office will determine the carry forward amount (for each appropriation-fund combination) by taking the previous carry forward balance PLUS actual revenue collected during the current year MINUS actual expenditures during the current year.

 

At the end of the year, any revenue estimates become obsolete as the actual revenue amounts will be used for the carry forward calculation. The revenue estimates are suggested as ways to better manage the cash levels within an appropriation.

 

For the funds that carry forward automatically (excluding funds 003 thru 110), this calculation is made for each appropriation-fund combination. Departments with a negative carryforward should carefully evaluate expenditures in order to avoid the over-draft. 

 

Can I use the savings on a position that has become vacant? Salary savings generated during a fiscal year can be utilized for other purposes. The savings resulting from positions being held vacant (or that become vacant) can be transferred to other positions or OOE. (Note: Check with your dean or vice provost. While these amounts can be transferred from salary to OOE, there may be operating practices within an area of responsibility that may preclude a unit from utilizing these funds without prior approval.)

How do I find out what the appropriation or the HR department is for a particular cost center?

Go to the BMFS website:  http://www.budget.ku.edu
Click on Budget Department ID Tree (excel)  
The Excel spreadsheet is sorted by Department ID.

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PAYROLL / APPOINTMENT PROCESSING

Please explain how the GTA tuition waiver process works

A memo is sent to each department requesting a list of their GTA’s. The Budget Office reviews the list and enters the waiver codes (student by student) onto the SAKU system for the term of the anticipated GTA appointment.

In many cases, the Budget Office keys the information which authorizes GTA waivers onto the system before the payroll forms are processed – in order to prevent the GTA from being billed for tuition.

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What are the minimum and maximum rates we can pay a student hourly?

The University of Kansas minimum wage is $7.00 hourly and the most you can pay a student without special permission from Human Resources is $13.99 per hour.

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What are the maximum appointment levels for students?

Appointment(s) to any combination of student job titles during the academic year cannot exceed the equivalent of a 75% appointment (30 hours weekly for student hourly).  Employment during the summer or between academic sessions may be at the 100%  level.

GTA appointments cannot exceed 50% during the academic year without special authorization from the Provost.  Most international students may not work over 50% during the academic semester due to visa restrictions.

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How do I change funding on an appointment?

These changes require submitting a payroll form through all your budgetary channels with the appropriate authorizing signatures.

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REPORTING

What is UBUD?

UBUD (University Budget System) is a web-based reporting system that allows the user to track budgeted dollar amounts, budgeted FTE, current expenditures, budget transfers, and forecasted dollar need to fiscal year-end by individual positions and pool IDs.   UBUD differs from KUFS (KU Financial System) in that KUFS cannot track budgeted dollars allocated to individual positions or FTE and can only track expenditures and budget transfers by budget category totals, i.e. total salaries, student wages, fringes, OOE, equipment, or travel. 

UBUD is a budgetary management tool. However, in creating its reports, the UBUD system may utilize information from a number of university systems. For UBUD, the primary source of information is the working budget system. Other data sources include the financial system, payroll system (for detailed expenditures of gross and fringe by pay period), and the salary forecast data mart (for details of the gross and fringe forecast by pay period). Depending on the parameters specified by the user, UBUD is able to generate a consolidated report from the various system(s) with the data sources remaining transparent to the user.

Other than budgetary transfers, the budget system does not house detailed transaction information. The budget file does include a summary of the YTD payroll postings and a summary of the salary forecast / projection (updated weekly on Friday mornings). However, by accessing the appropriate systems, the user can access the details of either actual or projected payroll expenditures. Another feature of the on-cycle payroll posting process is a “demographic update” of the budget file which provides, for filled positions, information about the incumbent such as name, employee ID, job code, retirement code, health insurance coverage, etc.

Because the working budget file has summed the OOE allocation to the appropriation level, UBUD is not the best tool for managing available funds in individual cost centers for any of the OOE miscellaneous, travel, or equipment categories.  KUFS should continue to be used for managing individual OOE cost centers.

Why does the UBUD salary forecast include an extra pay period when I drill down into YTD expenditures?

During a brief period of time after payroll posting, there is a difference between the two sources of YTD expenditures -- HRSA and FSKU. FSKU provides YTD summary expenditure information (appearing on the first UBUD reporting panel) while HRSA provides the YTD expenditure detailed information in the drill down feature. A timing difference may exist up to 24 hours after each payroll posting – for instance if expenditures for the most recent pay period has been posted but the forecast information has not been updated and still shows information for the previous pay period. UBUD is refreshed twice a day -- at noon and overnight, so the next refresh should eliminate the temporary anomaly due to timing.

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WORKING BUDGET PREPARATION

How are the “rules” set each year?

In consultation with the Chancellor, the Provost issues Budget Instructions (concerning the preparation of the upcoming fiscal year’s budget) at the same time that merit allocations are provided.

Our current protocol calls for the budgeteers to provide a salary recommendation for the upcoming fiscal year that clearly shows the beginning salary base (as confirmed by the payroll system); recommended merit allocation (which may be further sub-divided); promotion bonus (pertains only to the faculty promotion process in which central funds are provided to reward those faculty members promoted from assistant to associate professor, from associate professor to professor and promotions within the Librarian ranks); and, in some years, a miscellaneous amount.

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What is the university policy on giving merit increases to newly hired staff?

There is not an established “policy” for allocating these merit increases.

As part of the budget preparation, the Budget Office works with the various deans and vice provosts to verify the salary base upon which the next year’s budget will be built – ensuring that filled positions [faculty, unclassified non-faculty, and university support staff] are correctly budgeted for the correct salary level, FTE, and funding sources. This step occurs during “Phase 1” of the Budget Collection Process – also known as BCP-1 and is typically completed by mid-March.

During Phase 2 (BCP-2), the amount of merit money (additional funds) each unit is allocated is based on the filled base. If someone has been hired and started his/her job after BCP-1 was finished, that individual will not be included in the filled base.

Some units may chose to stretch their merit allocations to these newly hired staff members, but it is recommended that the initial salaries for such individuals be set for the balance of the fiscal year in which they’re hired and extend into the following fiscal year.

Note – need to develop protocol for USS – timing, etc.

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