Aerial of MSU Denver campusOver the past year, Metropolitan State University of Denver has worked to transform and decentralize its budget process to support more strategic decision-making by moving toward year-round and long-term financial-planning processes. This approach will allow the University to provide better and more transparent data, identify efficiencies, and reallocate resources toward revenue-generation and mission-enhancing efforts.  

The budget breakdown 

MSU Denver has two primary financial drivers: revenue from tuition and fees, which comprises approximately 62% of the University’s budget, and state funding, which comprises roughly 29% and is also dependent on enrollment. The remainder comes from smaller auxiliary sources.   

Employee compensation comprises 65% of the University budget, with 22% spent on operations, including utilities and software licensing.  

Introducing the UPBAC 

The University Planning and Budget Advisory Committee has been established to replace and build on the previous Budget Recommendation Committee. The UPBAC approach will improve, streamline and strengthen the budgeting process by focusing decision making on the entirety of budgets, rather than limiting the perspective to incremental decisions; it will ask leaders to identify the multi-year impacts of strategic decisions, rather than annual; and it will strive to present the full scope of the University’s on-going commitments and activities in a comprehensive and easy-to-understand fashion. 

UPBAC members will offer feedback on assumptions, priorities, cost drivers and revenue drivers and then help communicate information back to stakeholders. Additionally, Workday will provide more robust tools for budget decision making and reporting. 

Learn more about the group and find meeting information and documentation on the UPBAC Sharepoint page.  

budget-timelineNew budget planning process 

  • Planning and budget assumptions and Trustee/presidential budget priorities are set in summer.  
  • Budget owners develop their proposals in fall and submit them to the UPBAC in January.   
  • The UPBAC reviews assumptions and provides perspectives for the President’s consideration.  
  • The President considers the feedback, then submits proposals to the Trustees for approval.  

Next steps 

In the first half of 2023, the University will begin shifting from a two-phase budget process, in which non-base budgets were not approved until fall, to a single-phase process with the full budget approved by the Board of Trustees in June. In addition, the University aims to phase-out “one-time on-going” spending by incorporating these items into base budgets and begin developing new reporting and analytical tools supported by Workday. 

“MSU Denver has been and continues to be a fiscally healthy institution … as a result of the hard work of leaders throughout the institution and the guidance of our finance team,” said Jim Carpenter, interim associate vice president of Administration, Finance and Facilities, interim chief financial officer. “We have an important opportunity to leverage the platform provided by that fiscal health to take the next step in our budget processes and transform them into key strategic tools. We will make mistakes and learn lessons along the way, but our budgets can and should support our goals of “recover, stabilize and launch” as we all strive to meet students where they are and support their success.”  

Meet the UPBAC 

The UPBAC includes representatives from each branch of the University as well as student government, Faculty Senate and Staff Senate as well as department chair representatives. Members are charged with keeping their constituencies informed regarding budget planning.  

Members include: 

  • Marie Mora, Ph.D., deputy provost 
  • Emily Willan, director of Operations and Planning, Office of the Vice President for Student Affairs 
  • Jesse Aerni, assistant director of Operations, University Advancement
  • Jim Carpenter, interim associate vice president of Administration, Finance and Facilities, interim chief financial officer 
  • Sean Petranovich, director, Data Analytics 
  • Manny Del Real, Ph.D., executive director of HSI Initiatives and Inclusion, Office of Diversity 
  • John Arnold, senior director of Communications, University Communications and Marketing 
  • Elaine Becks, assistant director of Athletics for Business Operations
  • Liz Goodnick, Ph.D., president of Faculty Senate, associate professor, Philosophy 
  • Diane Yee, treasurer, Staff Senate, director of Campus Recreation 
  • Michael Warner, representative, Student Advocacy Council 
  • Ann Murphy, Ph.D., dean, College of Business 
  • Elizabeth McClellan Ribble, Ph.D., president of Council of Chairs and Directors, professor and chair of Mathematics and Statistics
  • Larry Sampler, vice president for Administration  
  • James Mejia, chief strategy officer 
  • Sheila Rucki, Ph.D., professor, Political Science 
  • Sharon Lorince, director of Operations and Maintenance 
  • Kaycee Gerhart, executive director, Government Relations
  • Edward Brown Jr., chief of staff, Office of the President 
  • Samuel Jay, Ph.D., director of Faculty Affairs

More resources 

See past University budget presentations 

Learn more about the Office of Budget