Key Issues

« Back to key issues

University Budget Redesign

Tuesday, Dec. 13, 2016

Dear VCU Community,

On Friday, we shared with the Board of Visitors our university budget redesign process and timeline.

This initiative will transform our planning and budgeting process to accelerate our progress as a 21st century public research university. It marks a fundamental change in how we will align our resources with our priorities as stated in Quest for Distinction and future strategic plans. We will create a process and tool to help us make informed decisions based on clear data and to provide better transparency, accountability and agility. It is not a strategy to manage impending budget reductions or a predictor of what future budgets may look like.

In 2014, I appointed a steering committee and university-wide taskforce of representatives from each college, school and major administrative unit to direct our efforts. This work is led by Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs, Gail Hackett, and Vice President for Finance and Budget, Karol Gray. Since then, the taskforce has prudently researched the possibilities for this redesign, a period in which we have also reflected on who we are as a university. When we began, we committed to take the time we needed not to borrow models used elsewhere but to develop a planning and budgeting process that is distinctively VCU’s and that will support our unique vision, mission and values. Today, we put forward our initial research and recommendations, developed by the taskforce's workgroups, regarding:

  • · Administrative assessment and benchmarking
    · Research income and expenses
    · Financial aid
    · Central cost allocation
    · Tuition and fees

From here, we will move forward in a measured and purposeful way. We will begin a two-year phase-in period in FY 2018, during which we will continue to learn together and refine the budget process as needed to best serve our university and our mission. We will continue to communicate openly and frequently, including through the new budget redesign website, where you can find the initiative's timeline, share your ideas, and get the latest updates. 

I am grateful for the many colleagues who have contributed to this process, and will continue to do so. 

This is an exciting and important initiative for VCU, and I look forward to the important work we will achieve together. Thank you for all you do for VCU.


Michael Rao, Ph.D.
President, Virginia Commonwealth University