New university budget model to be implemented in fiscal year 2021

Callery pear trees have blossomed in front of the historical Anderson Hall after a long, cold winter. As part of a multiyear initiative to modernize the university's budget model, Kansas State is introducing a brand new budget plan. The new model will go into full effect in the upcoming fiscal year. (Archive photo by Brooke Barrett | Collegian Media Group)

As part of a multi-year initiative to modernize the university’s budget model, Kansas State is introducing a brand new budget plan. The new model will go into full effect in fiscal year 2021. K-State’s current budget model for fiscal year 2020 consists of a multi-year phased plan as it is still in transition from the old model.

After conducting extensive research on the budgets of other universities, the project committee designed the new budget with success, lessons, and implementation recommendations in mind.

Rather than moving towards a full Responsibility Centered Management budget model, the new budget will implement a hybrid model to ensure balance and central strategic control.

According to Ethan Erickson, chief financial officer and director of budget planning, the main initiatives of this project are to ensure transparency and accountability, to incentivize student-credit hour production and to increase enrollment.

“We’re impacting a lot of lives across the world,” Erickson said. “We want to continue to deliver in excellence on our land-grant mission and I think finding ways to incentivize this enrollment, to be efficient with our resources, to have that accountability, to have that transparency will overall drive change to be a better land-grant university for the state.”

The project consists of several committees and teams. There is a wide variety of K-State administration and students involved including Provost Charles Taber, various deans, department heads, the budget office staff, professors, SGA members and more.

Among these representatives is Jansen Penny, member of the Budget Model Review Panel, K-State student body president and senior in industrial engineering.

“I always try to look at things from a student point of view,” Penny said. “How is this going to affect the way students enroll in classes, how is this going to affect them enrolling in certain classes and their curriculum as well?”

He said the budget will affect credit hour production differently in each college.

“There will be winners and losers with certain colleges,” Penny said. “When you look at who’s going to win and who’s going to lose, a lot of it comes down to the cost of producing that education and that major on one side. On the other side, the potential earnings of a graduate from that degree.”

As one of the student representatives of the Budget Modernization Project, Penny emphasizes how important he believes it is to take all student’s education into consideration when making these changes.

“My one concern is that students are at the forefront of our minds as we’re making choices on curriculum and where those credit hours are produced,” Penny said. “But at the end of the day, if we are all on a sinking ship together and everyone is throwing water out, the boat will rise at the end. And so we are hoping for that boat which is the entirety of K-State to rise.”