Strategic Realignment

Frequently Asked Questions

How did the USF Board of Trustees guide the Strategic Realignment process?

A set of Guiding Principles developed by the Board of Trustees in December 2020 informed our process.

During fall 2020, USF instituted a series of actions to position USF for greater success in the face of anticipated budget challenges impacting the FY2022 budget. These actions included a temporary salary reduction plan for members of the university leadership (including deans) and a pause on hiring and compensation adjustments. Are these actions being lifted? 

Beginning in October 2020, members of university leadership (including deans) took salary reductions of 10% or 15%. As of July 1, 2021, salary levels will be restored and pauses on university hiring and compensation adjustments are lifted. University leadership (including deans) will not be reimbursed for salary reductions from October 2, 2020, to July 1, 2021.

During fiscal year 2020-2021, the state held back 6% of its funding to USF. Then, at the end of fiscal year 2020-2021, the state returned the 6% to USF. What is happening to those funds? 

In summer 2020, while assessing the impact of COVID-19 on the state budget, the state held back 6% of USF’s fiscal year 2020-2021 allocation of general revenue and lottery funds. Now that the legislative session has concluded and that funding was released to Florida public universities, that one-time funding will also be returned to the colleges, branch campuses and USF Health. The return of the 6% holdback also includes the Florida Institute of Oceanography, the Florida Center for Cybersecurity and the Florida High Tech Corridor Council.  Holdback funding will not be returned to business and academic support units and will be used on a one-time basis to pay expenses in fiscal 2021-2022.

In fall 2020, the Board of Governors (BOG) instructed all members of the State University System, including USF, to plan for cuts in state funding of 8.5% for the fiscal year ending June 30, 2021. Are the funding cuts in this final budget? 

In addition to returning the 6% holdback, universities were earlier asked to plan for an 8.5% recurring reduction in state funding. Given a more positive outlook in the state’s approved FY2022 allocation for universities, colleges, branch campuses, USF Health, USF Libraries and the USF Police Department will not be required to take their planned share of the 8.5% reduction plan in FY2022. In addition, the planned base budget reduction for Student Success will be covered by one-time funds providing for a careful assessment of recurring budget needs as a part of the planning for a new budget model.

The threat of COVID-19 is not over. If conditions worsen and require mitigation measures, did USF reserve (set aside) funds to manage these needs? 

A reserve has been set aside from the federal relief funds for potential future mitigation needs.

How does USF’s FY2022 budget support our strategic priorities? 

Based on a careful review of A Blueprint for a Bold Future. Where Academic Excellence and Opportunity Converge, USF’s Strategic Plan, 2021-2031, and in the context of the university’s stated aspirations and goals, the FY2022 budget decisions prioritize (a) Institutional Core Commitments, and (b) Strategic Initiatives for FY2022, based upon USF’s current areas of greatest need in FY2022, and strength of USF’s competitive advantage in the higher education landscape.

How is USF using the non-recurring federal funds to strengthen the financial position of the university in light of the additional expenses and revenues lost as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic?

Federal institutional relief funding from the CARES Act, the Coronavirus Response and Relief Supplemental Appropriations Act (CRRSAA), and the America Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) will be used to replace lost revenues and cover university costs associated with the global pandemic.

How is the university addressing the misalignment of recurring expenses and recurring revenues? 

During the spring semester of 2021, a series of dialogues occurred regarding the existence of a misalignment between USF’s recurring revenues and recurring expenses. In the interest of transparency, and to resolve ambiguity, in March of 2021 President Currall requested the Office of Internal Audit (IA) to perform an independent, objective analysis of the university’s financial records to assess the alignment of these revenues and expenses. IA analyzed all university Education and General (E&G) recurring budgets and expenditures recorded within the university’s financial system of record for fiscal years 2017-18, 2018-19, 2019-20, and for the fiscal year 2020-21 through May 31, 2021, to independently calculate a financial summary of E&G recurring and E&G carryforward funds and assess the availability of these funds for current and future commitments. IA concluded that recurring E&G funding, when aggregated in total for the consolidated university, is adequate to support current recurring committed costs. IA also reviewed the fiscal year 2020-21 centralized funding list ($30.8 million) and analyzed the current and planned funding sources. Although IA concluded there were sufficient funds available through temporary budget transfers ($30.8 million), a recurring funding source needs to be permanently identified for recurring commitments to ensure adequate funding in the future. USF leadership will continue to address the remaining misalignment between recurring expenditures and available sources of recurring revenue as part of planning for a new budget model.

How will the budget planning process for FY2023 be different? 

This year’s rigorous and disciplined approach to the annual budget planning process – and our willingness to spend many hours in candid and transparent dialogue together – has primed us for our work in the coming year to develop a new budget model for USF that is increasingly rational, inclusive, transparent and predictable. USF leadership is committed to working with stakeholders to develop this new budget model for implementation in the 2022-2023 fiscal year.

Is USF facing additional recurring costs beginning in FY2022 because of new state requirements? 

Like the other public universities in Florida, beginning in FY2022, USF is now required to fund the portion of faculty salaries above $200K from sources other than E&G funds (only a few academic disciplines are exempt). This will not result in any salary reductions, however. USF also will be required to assume additional costs to support employee retirement plans previously paid by the state. In addition, USF will take reductions in state funding due to redistribution of Performance Based Funding. The impact of lost tuition revenues due to new state-mandated tuition waiver programs is yet to be determined.