Budgetary Responsibilities

Annual Budget Requests

Timing of budget requests:

  • Budget spreadsheets are sent to chairs in early October. 
  • Chairs consult with faculty about special needs, particularly in operating equipment.
  • Budgets requests submitted in the fall (generally October-November) for the following academic year
  • Approved budgets generally sent by July 1
  • July 1 marks the new fiscal year

Components of budget requests:

  • Major Maintenance:
    • Requests for alteration of space
    • Request requires complete description and justification
  • Technology:
    • Requests for computer technology or software exceeding $1000, but not covered by CAP requests
    • Request requires complete description and justification
  • Operating Equipment:
    • Requests for equipment exceeding $1000.  This can include groups of similar pieces of equipment (e.g., 10 chairs at $150 each) or smaller pieces of equipment that form a functional unit, with a total cost of over $1000 (e.g., a manipulator and stand that are each $800).
    • Request requires complete description and justification
  • Operating Budget – initial values are set by Dean for Academic Affairs office.  Depending on the College budget, this value is allowed to change by a small % or is fixed.  Changes can generally be made between categories within the allocated total.  Categories change from time to time, but generally include many of the following:
    • Student wages
    • Contracted services (e.g., service contracts on equipment)
    • Supplies (classroom and laboratory)
    • Travel (e.g., costs for invited speakers; this does not include costs of individual faculty travel to conferences)
    • General
    • Inter-departmental expenses (e.g., copy services)

Budgeting during the academic year: 

  • Chairs and departmental coordinators have access to the College’s accounting tool used to track budgets.
  • It is the Chair’s responsibility, working with the coordinator, to:
    • track the budget on an ongoing basis
    • ensure funds are allocated appropriately to courses and laboratories
    • spend appropriately across the academic year
  • Funds within the operating budget can shift between categories; those in other budget areas cannot do so without the approval of the Dean for Academic Affairs’ office (Ann Ostwald).  For example, if funds are budgeted to purchase one item of equipment, they cannot be used for a different item without prior approval.
  • Fiscal year ends on June 30.  All purchases must be complete, invoiced, and received by this date.  Budgets do not carry over from year to year.


Endowed funds are generally restricted to specific uses; descriptions can be found here and amounts in such funds are available from Ann Ostwald.  These include:

  • Departmental prizes
  • Support for invited speakers
  • Support for trips/field work
  • Other, as defined by donors


Q: Will next year’s budget be decreased if we underspend or increased if we overspend this year? 

A: No. 

Q: Where can I find budget information?  

A: The budget is sent to chairs and coordinators as an Excel spreadsheet, normally during the summer.  It is also available through the college’s accounting tool; your coordinator will know how to find current information. Ann Ostwald will also have that information.

Q: How do I find out how much is left in the budget?

A: Check with your coordinator or use the accounting tool.

Q: How can I increase our departmental budget for next year? 

A: If increases are allowed, that information will be on the budget worksheet.  You must justify the need for any increase requested on the submitted budget.

Q: How do I make sure that the budget is spent at an appropriate rate?  

A: Many departments have developed mechanisms for tracking their budgets on an ongoing basis, keeping track of expenditures for different courses, speakers, etc.  Comparing expenditures by categories with spending at similar times in past years is a useful way of gauging rates of expenditure.

Q: Can I spend funds allocated for one item on another?  

A: Within the Operating Budget, funds can be shifted between categories (eg, from supplies to travel).  Funds in other budget lines cannot be shifted from the original request without approval of the Dean’s Office (contact Ann Ostwald.)