Financial Management Guidelines


The financial position and future of the Colorado School of Mines is dependent on several variables including enrollment, research growth, changes in industry demand, and competing institutions at the national and international levels. In order to capitalize on these variables and respond to the challenges they may present, the university must maintain a strong financial position, flexible resources, and accountable financial management. These Financial Management Guidelines were designed to provide the ability to track, forecast, and project current and future resource needs in order to respond to the changing financial environment and to continuously strengthen the university’s financial position.

Financial Management within Mines is applied to all sources and uses of funds; unrestricted, designated, and restricted. Unrestricted operating budgets (education and general (E & G) – general fund and undesignated auxiliaries) are approved by the line item category as described below; designated budgets are subject to the purpose of the fund source; and restricted budgets are subject to the policies
and instructions of the sponsor or donor.

The various funding sources are combined into an annual all funds budget and the board is updated at
least quarterly on actual activity versus the budget and adjusted forecast throughout the fiscal year.

The overall budget management process includes these high level activities:


Budget Categories

E & G (general fund) budgets are allocated in three major categories: Labor, Operating, and Capital as defined below. The development and usage of each category is detailed in separate sections of these guidelines. Realignments of budget from one category to another must be approved through the forecast process.

  • Labor – includes salary and benefits for: academic, research, and administrative faculty,
    classified staff, hourly staff, adjuncts, graduate support, personal service contracts and student
  • Operating – expenditures and transfers that are not labor and are used to provide goods and
    services to support a specific department or program. It also includes single item equipment
    expenditures or capital projects $24,999 and below.
  • Capital – capital projects and/or equipment where total costs are equal to or greater than
    $25,000 and/or are funded from the capital budget (see Capital Budget Guidelines).

Budgets are allocated either as temporary or permanent. Temporary budgets do not continue in the following year. Permanent (base) budgets roll from year-to-year.


Forecast Spending Plans and Budget Adjustments/Realignments

Forecasts are used to convey management’s decisions and to update the Board of Trustees (BOT) on planned activity for the year. The process allows for changes to spending plans and is an avenue to address unplanned budget changes that occur after the initial budget is approved.

To ensure adequate budget exists for the university as a whole, the Executive Vice President of Administration and Operations (EVPAO) will approve the forecast in its entirety before submitting to the President, the Finance and Audit Committee and ultimately the Board of Trustees for review.

Annually, within the first quarter of each fiscal year, campus areas will submit a full fiscal year forecasted (spending plan) that lays out their anticipated spending by quarter and budget category. Forecast reviews/updates by campus areas will occur in each of the first three quarters. Each subsequent forecast will be updated to reflect actual spending activity for the prior and current quarters and any changes to planned spending for the remaining quarters. Any projection that results in the need to request a budget adjustment – either up or down, or a realignment between budget categories must be submitted on the forecast adjustment form with the areas Vice President’s or College Dean’s signature.

Each month, the campus areas will review their budget to actual activity and report any major variances to the Budget Office. Reports are available in Cognos that provide this activity in a quarterly snapshot or detail by account code or account type. Account code reports will give detail by account code and account type L1 will provide activity summaries by labor, operating, and transfers. The reports are listed in the screen shot below. 

The forecasts are due to the Budget Office from the campus areas on September 15th, December 15th, and March 15th. The forecasts are incorporated into the year-end projection and presented to the BOT for their review and approval. Budget adjustments prior to Board approval are allowed in two situations: 1) when there is an unanticipated enrollment increase that has a direct impact on the classroom and new faculty, adjunct, TAs or classroom material are required to mitigate that impact; and 2) in emergency situations where expenditures are required to prevent business interruptions. Such forecast adjustments will be reported to the Finance and Audit Committee during their next regularly scheduled meeting. Budget realignments are allowed without BOT approval within the same budget category (e.g. student hourly between departments) for all non-academic departments and between TA, adjunct, student hourly and operating budgets for academic departments at their discretion.

The following forecast adjustments must be approved prior to allocation:

  • Revenue modifications
  • FTE increases with or without a budget impact
  • Budget adjustments (increases or decreases)
  • Vacancy savings (see Vacancy Savings below)
  • Realignments of budget between categories: Labor, Operating or Capital
    (See Attachment A) note: academic departments do not need prior approval

Once approved, the Budget Office will allocate these adjustments/realignments in Banner.

Labor Budget, FTE and Vacancy Savings

Position budgets are utilized for all year-to-year “continuing positions.” Position budgets also include
corresponding position FTE (full time equivalent labor). Full time (40 hour per week) positions are 1.0
FTE. Position budgets and FTE are not currently used for research faculty, adjuncts, graduate TAs and
RAs, temporary positions, or students. Position budgets are allocated in the Banner system by labor type
account code (see Attachment B).

If a vacant continuing position does not have adequate salary budget, then it is not available to fill. To
resolve this the respective area can:

    1. Request a permanent realignment in an available budget category to fully fund the
      position budget (e.g. permanently reduce the department’s student hourly budget by
      $20,000 to add salary and fringe of $20,000 to a position)
    2. Realign from another vacant position. Note that all positions must have adequate salary
      budget and FTE to allow for refilling. A plan for backfilling the position budget and/or
      FTE must be submitted to the Budget Office and approved by the EVPAO within the
      same fiscal year that the position budget and/or FTE was removed otherwise the
      position will be abolished at the end of the fiscal year.

New FTE or reductions in FTE must be requested/reported during the new fiscal year budget
development process or quarterly forecast process except for those situations where new faculty
positions are needed due to unexpected enrollment increases that have a direct impact on the
classroom. Realignments of salary from one continuing position to another do not require board

Temporary vacancy savings are held institutionally and are generated when a continuing position is
vacant for any portion of a fiscal year. Vacant positions should be reported to the Budget Office as soon
as known, and reported on the quarterly vacancy spreadsheet provided to the department as part of the
quarterly forecast process.

Permanent savings occurs when a position is filled at a lower salary than budgeted. In these situations,
each Vice President is allowed to retain that savings to reallocate to other positions at his/her discretion.
These savings are tracked in unique position codes (see Attachment C) for each Vice President.

The following list outlines the general treatment for each type of vacancy savings after the budget
commitment has been fulfilled:

New approved continuing positions, not filled – the position will be held in a Budget Office central account and the position budget will be temporarily reduced by the estimated current year savings based on hire date. (e.g. position is anticipated to be filled January 1, 50% of the position budget is swept temporarily leaving 50% to cover the filling of the position for the current year and the full year amount available starting in the next fiscal year). New faculty positions in the search process will be held in a separate Budget Office account in order to track those positions already committed to a department.

Existing continuing position vacancies – typically occurs due to normal turnover. All temporary vacancy savings (except for custodial staff and those generated from sabbaticals, chargeout and leave without pay in the colleges) will be held in central budgeted accounts designated for each Vice President. The Vice Presidents may use these savings in two ways: 1) to backfill the vacated position that generated the savings with temporary staff or adjunct (for failed searches, unexpected terminations, medical leave, etc.) and 2) for one-time expenditures to be expended within the current fiscal year pursuant to the annually allocated cumulative thresholds below: 

Provost – $50,000
Deans – $50,000 each (total of $150,000)
Executive Vice President of Administration and Operations – $50,000
Vice President for Student Life – $40,000
Vice President for Research and Technology Transfer – $10,000

If there are not enough savings to fund the budget commitment, the above thresholds will be reduced proportionately until the vacancy savings budget is fulfilled. All other savings will be included in the forecast to reduce the overall labor budget.

Custodial positions – due to the high turnover in this position class, all vacant positions are kept
within the Facilities Management department. An annual estimate of total savings is calculated and a
“lump sum” labor budget reduction is included in the first quarter forecast adjustment and reviewed
monthly to determine if additional modifications are required.

Academic Chargeout, Sabbatical and Leave without Pay

Academic Chargeout – some faculty may choose to “chargeout” of teaching a course to devote time to a research project. Chargeout savings is only generated from savings realized from the general fund. Other funding sources, such as foundation funds do not generate chargeout savings to the department.

Any general fund chargeout savings generated by the academic departments will be allocated to the college for further distribution to the department following college guidelines. The fringe savings reverts to the university. Any remaining chargeout savings at the end of the fiscal year is allowed to roll.

Full Year Sabbaticals and Leave without Pay– Faculty on full year sabbatical or leave without pay (LWOP) generate salary savings that will be allocated to the college. Full year sabbaticals generate a 50% salary savings return to the college. LWOP salary savings are available for any unused budget remaining in the position after actual salary expenses have been covered. For both types of savings, the fringe savings
reverts to the university. Any remaining sabbatical or LWOP savings at the end of the fiscal year is allowed to roll.

Academic areas are encouraged to submit fall chargeout forms by September 10th and spring forms by January 10th to allow sufficient time for processing before payroll runs.

Operating Budgets

Operating budgets are allocated to each department once the budget is approved. In general, operating budgets are allocated to a budget “pool” (5300P) and not to specific account codes unless requested by a department. There are transfer budget codes that are used for tracking specific transfer activity. All operating budget codes are detailed in Attachment D.

Operating budget may only be used for the general operations of the program/department in the year in which it is allocated. Transfers into or out of the general fund (that are not budgeted) are not allowed unless approved by the Budget Office. (This includes transfers to faculty Professional or Research Development accounts, or any activities outside of the general (1001) fund).

  • Operating budgets may not be used for capital projects, renovations or equipment where the
    cost exceeds $24,999. Such projects must be submitted and approved through the capital
    request process.
  • Non Academic areas: Realignment of operating budget to labor budget categories (student
    hourly, contracted professional services, position budgets) must be included in a forecast
    adjustment request and approved by the President and the Board of Trustees. Realignment of
    operating budgets between programs (operating budget moved between two departments)
    does not require additional approvals.
  • Academic areas: Colleges and academic departments have the authority to realign operating
    and non-position (student hourly, adjunct, TA, contracted professional services) labor budgets at
    their discretion.

Budget Development and Projections

The annual budget projections and new fiscal year budget development process are designed to provide transparency to our stakeholders. We require input from several departmental representatives throughout campus in order to ensure accuracy and validity. In addition, this process is vetted with the institution’s Budget Committee during monthly meetings typically from September through April. A high level schedule is provided below.

Prior to approval by the BOT, there are several interrelated steps in developing the budget. While developing the budget, it is critical to review the cumulative impact of current year activity and decisions on long-term projections. These components are outlined below:


Academic Allocation Model – a detailed allocation model that uses metric driven inputs to annually allocate non-position operating budget to the academic departments. The model is run in late September to early November and uses the prior academic year undergraduate and graduate student credit hours (excluding summer) and the 3-year rolling average PhD graduates to allocate operating, instructional and research support. The initial model was calculated to keep the overall budget allocation to the academic colleges flat compared to the prior year. It is the intent that subsequent year’s allocation models will allocate funding that flows through the model that is not adjusted to remain net neutral.

Academic Allocation Metrics:

  • Weighting factors are applied to credit hours by program due to the uniqueness and varying cost structures of each department. Department weights are currently based on Mines’ academic department costs without salaries and benefits for Fiscal Year 2016.
    Applied Math and Statistics (AMS) was used as the baseline (at 1.0). In the future we will be moving toward a peer comparison using tools such as the Delaware Cost Study and Education Advisory Board (EAB) Higher Education Benchmarking.
  • Operating (non labor) support is allocated at $5/weighted student credit hour (WSCH). The basis of the $5/WSCH was to keep the overall operating support essentially flat to Fiscal Year 2017 levels.
  • Instructional (student hourly and TA) support is allocated at $14,000/700 WSCH. The $14,000 rate was determined as a general average rate of TA costs across the colleges. 700 WSCH was used as the denominator in order to keep the overall college budgets net neutral.
  • Research (RA) support is allocated at $25,000 for 50% of the total 3-year rolling average PhD graduates. $25,000 was determined as the lowest acceptable rate to support an RA. The intent was to keep the overall allocations to the colleges at a net neutral amount. The denominator of 50% of graduates was determined due to budget restraints. The goal would be to fully fund for all graduates as budget allows.

Academic Incentive Models – incentives provided to focus efforts on developing key strategic activity
within the academic departments. Incentives are currently provided for non-thesis master’s growth
and for summer course offerings.

Non Thesis Master’s Incentive – the institutional vision of Mines @ 150 places an emphasis on using existing class capacity as well as non-traditional delivery methods in order to grow our non-thesis masters and non-degree programs. Our academic incentive model for non-thesis is designed to move us in this direction.

  • SCH flow through the academic allocation model, thus providing support via the regular
    academic model as well as providing additional funding by way of the incentive structure
    outlined below
  • Baseline is established using FY15, FY16, and FY17 SCH to calculate a three year average credit
    hour enrollment by department
  • SCH include on-campus and off-campus (online) courses:
    • Professional masters
    • Non-degree seeking students are included based on student level: grad, degree
      program: non degree, courses: all enrolled
    • Non-thesis masters
    • Certificates
  • Incentive is provided at $250/SCH for annual growth above the baseline
  • Annual base adjustments will be made both up and down at $250/SCH for changes in
  • Net activity allocated to college’s roll forward index
    • Colleges will allocate in a transparent way the corresponding incentive to departments
    • Interdisciplinary programs will be directly allocated and will not go to the college
  • Balances are allowed to roll

Summer Course Incentive – was put in place to encourage growth in summer offerings. Goals include offering courses that are needed to keep students on track with graduation requirements, to pilot new course offerings, and to offer high demand courses. Additionally, the incentive encourages cost containment by allowing the college to retain any savings realized between the $250/SCH allocation and the actual costs incurred.

  • SCH do not flow through the academic allocation model
  • Field session courses are not included in the incentive, but are direct funded
  • On an individual summer I and summer II basis, budget is allocated to the department based
    on the planned summer schedule at $250/SCH
  • A true up occurs at the end of each of the summer terms
    1. Review the estimated enrollment and adjust for any changes for actual enrollment
    2. Review expense activity and identify those courses where costs exceed $250/SCH
      a. If the course was still profitable based on full tuition recovery, the
      university will fund the difference
      b. If the course was not profitable based on full tuition recover, the college
      will fund the difference
    3. In the event that summer expenses are found to have been erroneously recorded in an incorrect index after the incentive has been transferred to the college, the college will work with the budget office to correct the expenses and revise the incentive
  • Net activity allocated to colleges roll forward index
    • Colleges will allocate in a transparent way the corresponding incentive to
    • Interdisciplinary programs will be directly allocated and will not go to the college
  • Balances are allowed to roll


Annual Budget Development for non-Academic Departments – a detailed Board approved budget incorporating projections, institutional needs and strategic investments.

  • Incorporates mandated costs, such as utilities, financial aid, benefit increases, and license costs
  • Incorporates projection models so the impact of today’s budget decisions can be seen in the out years
  • Includes plans for capital construction
  • Includes consideration of institutional strategic plan and vision
  • Includes consideration for new positions and programs
  • Includes impacts/results of the academic allocation and incentive models

University-wide Projections
Some increases impact the entire institution and are projected by administrative areas across campus. Examples include mandated salary increases for classified staff, fringe benefit increases, utilities etc. Below is a list (not all inclusive) of information that is required of several areas across campus:

Student Impact Planning:
Undergraduate Enrollment Projections – Institutional Research and Admissions
Undergraduate Summer Enrollment Projections – Academic Affairs
Graduate Enrollment Projections – Graduate Office
Graduation Projections – Registrar’s Office
Institutional Aid Projections – Financial Aid Office
Housing, Dining, and Student Fee Projections – Student Life
Academic Fees – Colleges and Academic Departments

Operational Impact Planning:
Campus Wide Licensing Increases – Center for Computing and Information Technologies (CCIT)
Utilities Projections – Facilities Management
Indirect Cost Return & Research Projections – Office of Research Admin & VP Research and Tech Transfer
Classified Salary Increases – Human Resources
Benefits Increases – Controller’s Office and Human Resources
Faculty Startup – Academic Affairs

Timelines for submitting projections are different for each area and a detailed schedule is provided in
Attachment E.


Financial/Budget Management – Monitoring utilization activity to ensure budgets and funds are used appropriately and are aligned with activity.

Forecast Development – Quarterly changes to the annual budget submitted by campus areas, approved by the Board of Trustees and derived from unanticipated changes to projections, subsequent departmental requests, and unanticipated expenditures or savings.

Projections – A ten year institutional budget projection model that uses various assumption scenarios and provides a long term outlook based on current year decisions.

Continuing positions – All academic and administrative faculty, classified staff, and as needed for special circumstance positions on a case-by-case basis.

Unrestricted funds – Are made of up of general fund and undesignated auxiliary funds. The revenue is primarily from tuition, state support in the way of fee-for-service and COF (college opportunity funds), continuing education offerings, and housing and dining revenues. Expenses include institution wide general operating index activity, graduate support for the academic areas, and scholarships.

Designated funds – Are internally restricted and designated for a specific purpose. Most activity is in student fee areas.

Restricted funds – Are externally restricted and are primarily made up of research and gift funds.

RA – Research assistant

TA – Teaching assistant

Budget Entry Types in Banner – The base budget roll occurs as a BD01 transaction in Banner. Base adjustments that occur during the year are entered as BD02 and temporary adjustments are entered as BD03 in Banner. At the end of a fiscal year the total of the BD01 and BD02 transactions are rolled for each of the budget categories.

Budget Committee

The Budget Committee is defined in the Faculty Handbook, section 12.3 which states: 

“The Budget Committee shall be responsible for gathering and analyzing appropriate data regarding the
budgetary requirements of CSM, preparing proposed annual budgets for CSM, preparing proposed
budgetary revisions from time to time, and advising the President and the CSM administration on
budgetary matters and long-range fiscal planning.

The appointed membership of the Budget Committee shall consist of two academic department heads,
three full-time academic faculty members, and one full-time administrative faculty member. One of the
academic faculty members must be a Faculty Senator and shall serve as a representative of the Faculty
Senate. Additionally, the Provost, the Executive Vice President for Administration and Operations, the
Vice President for Student Life, the Vice President for Research and Technology Transfer, and the Senior
Vice President for Strategic Enterprises shall serve as voting, ex officio committee members. The
Executive Director of the CSM Foundation shall serve as a non-voting, ex officio committee member.”