The UMass Board of Trustees votes on the budget every spring. The operating budget for each of the system campuses, including UMass Lowell, is delineated individually in the University Operating Budget and approved by the Board annually.
The Board of Trustees’ review and approval of the Operating Budget coincides with the review and approval of student charges for the upcoming academic year. With reductions in state support in recent years, the contribution of student revenues to the operating budget has increased; therefore the outcome of the student charge discussions becomes a significant milestone in the annual budget process.
In February, the Budget and Financial Planning Office begins formulating tentative funding estimates for the campus general operating funds budget based on projected enrollment, anticipated level of state appropriations, student fee and tuition revenue, interest earnings, indirect cost recovery from grants and other unrestricted operating, auxiliary and grant and contract revenues, as well as expected changes in fixed and variable costs. The allocations are reworked throughout the spring as the enrollment and budget outlook becomes clearer and the Financial Planning Committee process unfolds. Once the student charge vote is passed and the state appropriation is finalized, the Chancellor and Executive Cabinet determine final budget allocations to divisions within the University. The final allocations usually occur in the late summer once the prior fiscal year is closed.
This flow chart illustrates the annual budget process followed by UMass Lowell, the state, and the University & President’s Office.