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FY20 Budget FAQ

Q. Will budget cuts occur across the board?

A: Budget adjustments will be performed strategically based on the goals and vision outlined in Imagine 2023 to be a premier land-grant university, in addition to data, metrics and the financial health of the unit. Adjustments will not be made across the board.

Q: Why is it necessary to take Budget cuts?

A: SDSU is reducing allocated base budgets for two primary reasons.

1. SDSU experienced an unbudgeted enrollment drop of more than 400 students. This equates to a decrease of tuition revenue of $3.8 million and expenditures against lost revenues. Therefore, SDSU must cut its expenses to match its revenues.

2. During the past several budget cycles, some budgets of SDSU units were unbalanced. These must now be balanced, and going forward, will be required to be balanced each year.

Q: What is the overall financial condition of SDSU?

A: While the university is experiencing a revenue shortfall of $3.8 million, this represents 3.6 percent of expected revenue and just over 1.3 percent of the total operations. The balance sheet of SDSU remains strong and SDSU currently has a liquidity ratio of 2.9, which is within the normal range of 2.5 to 3.5 of midsized research universities. This is one standardized financial formula used to measure the financial health of an organization.

Q: What efficiencies has SDSU implemented recently to help contain cost?

A: We constantly look for efficiencies across our academic and administrative units. This year, we discussed the following efficiencies during the annual SDSU budget presentation to the State Legislature: college realignment, consolidation of departments into schools within the College of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences, and LEAN initiatives on campus and across the state.

Q: Will SDSU be able to afford the construction on campus?

A: The majority of all current and future construction at SDSU has already been planned for and budgeted. Some of the construction you see is maintenance and repair. Large capital projects currently in progress (Animal Disease Research Diagnostic Laboratory, Raven Precision Agriculture, American Indian Student Center, Southeast Housing) have specific funding associated with them from the state or gifts.

Q: Will these cuts be permanent or one-time? What is the difference between permanent cuts and onetime cuts?

A: The majority of the cuts for the FY20 budget will be permanent. For FY19, the majority of budget adjustments will be one-time. A permanent cut means that we reduce the budget for years going forward. For example, we may decide to leave a vacant position open this year to generate one-time dollars. We could use this for a one-time budget cut. If we decided to not ever fill the position and cut it from our budget, this would be a permanent budget cut.

Q: Will the number of faculty and staff be reduced?

A: The total number of employees should not see much fluctuation. However, it is anticipated that some of the vacant positions could be eliminated as part of the budget adjustment process. Hiring decisions must be made strategically. For academic-related vacant positions, any request to fill them must be approved by the respective dean in consultation with the provost. For any administrative positions, they must receive approval from the appropriate vice president. Any position with a proposed salary greater than $100,000 must receive an additional approval from President Dunn.

Q: Will the budget cuts impact research and scholarly activity?

A: Research, scholarship and creative activity remains one of the tripart mission of SDSU. Many of the awards and grants our researchers receive are from federal sources and are not directly impacted by our enrollment revenue shortfall. As part of the budget process, one of the primary considerations will be to mitigate the impact on research at SDSU. The vice president for research, like all other vice presidents, will have to provide budget adjustment scenarios for his office.

Q: Will athletics take a budget reduction?

A: Yes, athletics, just like all other administrative units, will complete the 2 percent, 3.5 percent and 5 percent budget adjustment scenarios and will have to present its budget to the UBOC.

Q: As budget decisions are made, will academic programs be safe?

A: As part of the budget adjustment process, one of the primary considerations will be to mitigate the impact to the academic mission of the university. However, academic units will experience some level of budget adjustment.

Q: Will these budget cuts impact students and their ability to get the classes they want?

A: No. However, with some of the adjustments, the number of sections offered of a specific class may be reduced.

Q: How is the university approaching / determining the budget cuts?

A: Each vice president and dean on campus was asked to complete an analysis of how they would approach a budget cut within their unit. Direct reports to the Office of the President were asked to do the same. They will present each of these scenarios to the president, provost and vice president for finance and administration. This team will determine the cuts based on data-informed, decision-making principles.

Q: Will all units take the same level of budget cut?

A: No. The budget adjustments will be done strategically based on the priorities of Imagine 2023, data and metrics and the financial health of the unit. The adjustments will not be made across the board.

Q: How can I provide input, ask questions or incorporate ideas?

A: Please email This email will be monitored and disseminated to appropriate leadership through university channels.