Budgeting for Success: How Tri-C Uses Its Financial Resources to Enable Successful Student Outcomes
Cuyahoga Community College leadership is entrusted with utilizing the resources at the College’s disposal to enable positive outcomes for students.
Whether seeking an associate degree, a certificate or credits to transfer to a four-year university, each student must walk through the doors confident that Tri-C will provide the support necessary for him or her to reach that goal.
It’s no small task for a school entrusted with millions of public dollars to educate more than 55,000 students every academic year. And much of that task is placed in the hands of the College’s Accounting and Financial Operations department, headed by executive director Mike Johnson.
The budget development process begins during the annual budget kickoff meeting in November, when Tri-C President Alex Johnson and the College’s executive vice presidents begin prioritizing initiatives and working together strategically to develop a balanced budget for the next fiscal year. The balanced budget is presented to the College’s Board of Trustees for approval each May.
“We want to give each campus what they need while still remaining fiscally responsible,” Johnson said.
Each campus’ budget must cover a wide range of student success-related expenses, from faculty and support staff salaries, to lab and classroom supplies, to support for student organizations and clubs.
Campus budgets don’t represent the entirety of the College budget pool as it pertains to student outcomes. A portion of the College operating budget is also allotted to College-wide programs operated by executive vice presidents.
“That could include programs such as the Adult Diploma Program and the Student Production Office,” Johnson said. “They’re examples of College-wide student success activities that aren’t based at any one specific campus.
Without proper budgetary control, it would be impossible to adequately fund the people, programs and facilities necessary to produce successful student outcomes. That’s why the College’s financial professionals view budgeting as an essential first step in enabling the College to achieve those outcomes.
“It’s really a two-pronged approach,” said Jason Januszewski, the College’s director of planning, budget and strategic support. “The finance team assigns funds after looking at the full available pot of money anticipated for the budget year and in future years. The campus presidents and executive vice presidents budget their share of the money as they see fit — always with that end focus on positive student outcomes.”
Johnson said budgeting for student success is the responsibility of every person at the College who spends College dollars.
“Budgeting is not just about allocating dollars and cents,” Johnson said. “Each person in our department is assigned a certain area of the College, be it another department or a campus. We are interfacing with the people in those areas on a regular basis. The budgeting process is about relationships as much as anything else.
“It’s through those relationships that we learn how each area of the College spends its money, what its needs are and how we can best support them. We have to work together to remain the type of College that sends well-prepared students out into the world. It’s something we take very seriously.”
This is the fifth article in a seven-part series examining how various programs and people throughout Tri-C each play an important role in meeting the AQIP criteria and, by extension, assist the College in remaining accredited. To read the other articles in the series, visit the College's accreditation page.
February 08, 2018
Erik Cassano, 216-987-3577 or firstname.lastname@example.org