June 20, 2016
Dear Binghamton University Community,
As president of Binghamton University, I often find myself in the role of an educator – explaining to various audiences about topics ranging from our quality students and world-class faculty to our academic programs to our impact on the region’s economy. But perhaps the most confusing topic I address is the University’s budget, so I would like to explain our budget process and how it has evolved since 2010.
First, Binghamton University receives several types of income:
- State purpose funds originating from tuition payments, legislative appropriations directly to us and legislative appropriations to SUNY that are disbursed to us. Approximately 90 percent of these funds pay faculty and staff salaries.
- Income Fund Reimbursement (IFR) income is received from various sources, the largest of which is student fees.
- Dormitory Income Fund Reimbursement (DIFR) income is predominantly room rents paid by students living on campus and goes to pay residence hall staff, reimburse the campus for utilities and services such as cleaning and repairs, and the cost of debt borrowed to construct residence halls. The majority of the costs allocated to the DIFR income is debt service.
- Research Foundation (RF) income, the majority of which is received through grants and contracts awarded to faculty and staff, and is used to conduct research projects that incur direct and indirect costs to the campus.
- Binghamton University Foundation (BUF) income derived from gifts to the University from alumni, foundations and friends that are technically given to the Binghamton University Foundation, a separate not for profit 501(c)(3) corporation that was established by Binghamton University to allow it to receive gifts on behalf of Binghamton University.
The University must, of course, report its expenses, which have grown substantially in recent years. Between 2011-12 and 2015-16, the total expenses by Binghamton University, have grown by $54.8M (19.7 percent). The largest components of this growth are tuition: $30.1M, IFR: $20.5 and DIFR: $5.9M.
The vast majority of the University’s expenses are found in the Division of Academic Affairs, which makes sense due to our educational mission. In 2010-11 Academic Affairs spent 71.6 percent of our state purpose income and in 2015-16 it spent 74.1 percent of our state purpose income.
Determining how to allocate funds is a complicated process, but during the past four years, we’ve developed and implemented a faculty hiring process and a Road Map proposal process that encourages campus-wide input as we build our annual expenditure budgets.
Faculty hiring proposals
Each summer the Provost’s Office puts out a call to schools, colleges and departments to submit requests for potential positions. Requests are then evaluated by the provost, president and deans to determine how well the position fits the University’s needs with respect to teaching, research and service. Decisions are made by late summer to allow searches to begin as soon as the fall semester starts.
A second faculty hiring request is for core Transdisciplinary Area of Excellence (TAE) positions. The process for these positions is identical to that of all other faculty hires, except that the criteria is weighted more heavily toward the hire’s impact on the TAE targeted area.
Road Map proposals
Each fall the provost and president issue a call to the campus community requesting proposals that will make a significant impact on the University’s ability to advance our strategic plan. Final decisions on these proposals are made the following summer using a process that includes the Road Map Steering Committee in collaboration with the Faculty Senate Budget Review Committee.
In addition, each division, through its internal procedures, has freedom to allocate their resources in ways it believes will enhance its division and the University to meet our strategic priorities.
So, this is a very quick snapshot of budgeting at Binghamton University. I hope it helps to clarify what we do at Binghamton to ensure strong stewardship of the dollars we receive from New York state, student tuition and other sources. If you have questions, I can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.