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Dear Colleagues:

As we begin developing the budget for fiscal year 2021 (FY21), our commitment to becoming a student-ready, regionally-engaged university that empowers diverse learners for economic and social mobility will continue to be our focus. While we deal with the uncertainty of the pension situation, we must keep our focus on student success and the implementation of Success by Design.  Earlier this fall, I authorized the creation of a one-time $2 million Strategic Investment and Innovation Fund (SIIF) to support the implementation of Success by Design, and Box 3 initiatives in particular. Of that, $1.5 million will be allocated to the First Five initiatives and the remaining $500,000 will be available for the 2020 NKU Innovation Challenge.  Thanks to our efforts in being good stewards of our funds in 2018-19, we have been able to set aside these non-recurring resources to support Success by Design.

On the pension issue, we are working with other universities on a request for proposal (RFP) for services that will assist the universities to analyze the options in HB1.

Following is an overview of the FY21 budget development timeline:

  • November 2019 – President’s Fall Forum to discuss enrollment and budget updates
  • December 2019 – Begin gathering budget data (e.g., budget request, revenue estimates, fixed costs)
  • January 2020 – Begin developing tuition/fee recommendations
  • January/February 2020 – Budget committees review and discuss budget requests. Review of college and division six-month assessments
  • Mid-February 2020 – Meet with campus constituents to discuss tuition/fee recommendations
  • Late February 2020 – Tuition/fee recommendation finalized (pending information from the Council of Postsecondary Education (CPE))
  • March 2020 – Divisions develop budget recommendations
  • April 2020 – Budget recommendations finalized
  • April 2020 – President’s Spring Forum to discuss budget recommendation
  • May 13, 2020 – Budget recommendation presented to Board for approval

Throughout the budget process, we will solicit ideas and suggestions to keep the campus community engaged and informed. We will consult with Staff Congress, Faculty Senate, Student Government Association, Council of Chairs, Academic Affairs Council and the relevant budget committees. Input from students will be sought about parking, housing, technology, dining and tuition costs.  All suggestions and ideas will be considered as we develop a budget recommendation for approval by the Board of Regents in May 2020.

A new process that will be added for this budget cycle will be the implementation of six-month assessments.  These will allow us to gain a better understanding of divisional budgets and factors impacting those budgets.  In late January, we will begin this process with the Deans and division heads to look at the college and division budgets to better understand the cost drivers and revenue opportunities as well as budget performance through the first half of the FY20.

The following principles will guide the development of the budget:

  1. Preserve the university’s academic priorities centered on student success. Continue to emphasize instructional programs that are innovative, distinctive, experiential and interdisciplinary, as well as programs that respond to student demand and support the needs of our region.

  2. Invest in our people. Find ways to reinvest in the growth and development of our people and recognize their achievements.

  3. Position NKU for both short- and long-term success. Make thoughtful, data-informed decisions that ensure a firm foundation for the next fiscal year while providing the flexibility to align resources with the university’s strategic framework process.

  4. Be bold and innovative when prioritizing functions and activities for investment and disinvestment. Avoid across-the-board budget increases or decreases. Utilize the input and ideas discovered throughout the strategic framework process to shape these priorities.

  5. Create efficiencies and effectiveness across campus. Look for efficiencies, cost savings, productivity improvements and cost avoidance strategies while maintaining expected service levels. These activities should align with the three boxes being utilized to organize internal and external feedback from the strategic framework process. 

  6. Take an incentive-based approach to allocating university resources. Continue using the new budget model to incentivize the enrollment, retention and graduation of more students, as well as to generate alternative revenue streams across the campus.

Thank you all for all the hard work and dedication that goes into the creation of our annual budget. I look forward to working with you on this endeavor.

Sincerely yours,

Ashish K. Vaidya, Ph.D.
Northern Kentucky University
Nunn Drive
800 Lucas Administrative Center
Highland Heights, KY 41099
Phone: 859-572-5123
Fax: 859-572-6696