L&S 131 Program Budget Model
This document is an explanation of the accounting policies and procedures for 131 Programs in L&S.
Background of 131 Programs
L&S departments operate several types of revenue-generating instructional programs. These include post-baccalaureate capstones, professional masters programs, and Visiting International Student Programs (VISPs). They are colloquially called “131 programs” given that revenues are received and expenses are incurred on fund 131. These programs directly receive the tuition paid by students, return a share of the gross tuition revenue to the College and campus, and are responsible for all instructional and administrative costs. The remaining program surplus accrues to the home department.
New capstone or professional masters programs require approval from central campus and UW System. Details can be found in the campus policy library
. L&S departments interested in creating a new program should first discuss feasibility with their divisional associate dean who can then facilitate follow-up meetings with L&S Administration to discuss curricular and budgetary details. Tentative approval from the College is necessary before starting the campus-level approval process.
L&S departments work with the Division of Continuing Studies (DCS) to create VISP cohort programs. Details can be found in the campus policy library
. As with other 131 programs, L&S departments interested in creating a VISP should first discuss plans with their divisional associate dean who can then facilitate further discussion within L&S and with DCS.
- 131 accounts. The L&S Budget Office creates a unique 131 account for each program. The funding string is generically 131-48xxyy where xx is the department code and yy is the sub-department code associated with the program. Every department has a separate 131 “profit” account that holds accumulated surplus from past years for 131 programs (and summer term). The funding string is generically 131-48xx07 where xx is the department code. For more information on sub-department codes, please see the L&S Fund Management: Sub-Department KB document. Departments and programs should use WISER to monitor revenues and expenditures in these accounts.
- Program tuition rate. The tuition rate for capstone and masters programs is set when the program is initially approved based on market comparisons to similar programs at other universities. The tuition rate can be subsequently modified with the permission of campus and UW System. Requests for changes need to be made early in the academic year to become effective the following fall semester.
- Program revenue. Tuition revenue for capstone and masters programs is posted weekly to the program account as it is received from students. Typically, most tuition is received near the beginning of each semester, and almost all academic-year tuition will have been received by the beginning of April.
- College and campus taxes. A share of gross tuition revenue is retained by the College (23.33%) and campus (10%). These taxes are deducted from program revenue toward the end of each fiscal year. The College uses its share of 131 revenue to centrally cover several large expenses (e.g., common systems and network charges) as well as the College’s share of faculty startup and retention packages.
- VISP revenue and taxes. While VISPs also operate on fund 131, revenue flows differently for VISPs than other 131 programs. VISP students pay tuition according to the standard undergraduate schedule for international students. Tuition initially flows to the Division of Continuing Studies (DCS) which withholds 20% as the college of record for these students. DCS then transfers the remaining revenue to L&S. L&S withholds taxes for the College (23.33%) and campus (10%) before transferring the revenue to the VISP 131 account. These transfers occur on a semester-by-semester basis.
- Campus employment of 131 students. New campus policy regarding employment of 131 students is
posted in the campus policy library and is effective May 15, 2022.
Under the new policy, 131 students are permitted to hold TA/RA/PA positions
(including those above 33%) but will not receive the tuition remission that is
typically part of the compensation package for a graduate assistantship.
The Bursar’s Office will implement the new policy by mechanically preventing
tuition remission to 131 students.
Prior to the new policy, most L&S 131 programs
prohibited their students from accepting any campus employment that would
trigger tuition remission (and loss of tuition revenue to the program).
Potentially, some programs may wish to continue to discourage campus employment
given the accelerated nature of the curriculum. However, under the new
policy, programs will no longer need to restrict employment solely to avoid loss
of tuition revenue. To the extent that any program continues to
discourage campus employment, the program is responsible for monitoring and
enforcement of its rules or guidelines.
The Graduate School will update Guide pages with uniform
language indicating that 131 students are not eligible for tuition
remission. Programs should clearly communicate this new policy to
students, updating all program materials as necessary. This includes the
offer of admission, the program website, the program handbook, and during
program orientation. For more information about campus employment of 131 students, please see the L&S memo distributed in March 2022.
- Program expenses. Because programs directly capture tuition revenue on fund 131, they are expected to cover all associated instructional and administrative costs using these 131 resources. The College needs to be able to demonstrate to stakeholders (e.g., UW System) that 131 programs are fully self-supporting, not making inappropriate use of state resources (fund 101). In particular, we cannot claim that courses taught by 101-funded instructors are “free” to 131 programs just because the department would have run the courses anyway.
Instructors or administrators who work entirely within the program should be paid entirely through the 131 program account. Departmental administrative staff who perform some of their work for the program should have their salaries paid partially through the 131 program account (with the remainder on 101) based on the share of their time spent working in the program. Given the fringe treatment on fund 131, programs incur actual fringe costs on all payroll expenditures.
In situations where faculty or staff teach courses that include both traditional (101) and program (131) students, the department is allowed to pay these instructors entirely on fund 101 (through its BSR). However, to ensure proper cost-accounting, the program will be charged on a per-credit basis for any courses that program students take from 101-funded instructors in the home department. This amount will then be credited to the department on fund 101 (through its BSR). Recognizing that BSRs are denominated in 101 dollars (with fringes covered), the cost-accounting transfer from the program to the department will be adjusted for fringe expenses.
For FY21, programs were charged $300 per credit for 101-funded instruction and departments received $240 per credit through their BSRs (after the fringe adjustment). For FY22, programs will be charged $326 per credit and departments will receive $247 per credit through their BSRs (after the fringe adjustment). Central campus will continue to review these amounts annually.
The L&S Budget Office implements these cost-accounting transfers toward the end of each fiscal year, deducting revenue from the program account and crediting the department’s 131 profit account. Departments will receive reports showing the details. For more information about 131 cost-accounting policy, please see the L&S memos distributed in January 2020 and May 2021.
- Instructional payments to other departments. While 131 programs are intended to be largely self-contained with the home department providing most (if not all) of the instruction, program students may benefit from the opportunity to take courses in other departments or colleges. In such cases, the program will be charged on a per-credit basis for any courses that program students take outside the home department. These charges are currently set at $600 per credit but may be modified over time. The L&S Budget Office implements these transfers toward the end of each fiscal year, transferring revenue from the 131 program account to the instructional department’s 131 profit account.
- Program surplus. Starting in FY21, the program account statement for June (period 12) in WISER provides a convenient summary of program finances for the fiscal year. The Revenue shown in WISER reflects gross tuition revenue net of college and campus taxes, cost-accounting payments to the home department, and instructional payments to other departments. The Expenses shown in WISER reflect those administrative and instructional costs charged directly to the program. The Current Fund Balance is equal to revenue minus expenditures, and thus reflect the program surplus for the fiscal year. This balance is transferred from the program account to the department profit account in period 13. In this way, the program account is “reset to zero” for the start of the next fiscal year.
Departments are encouraged to make timely use of program surplus to avoid large balances in the 131 profit account, but are allowed to carry 131 balances across fiscal years in consultations with the L&S Budget Office. We recognize there may be situations were departments find it necessary or desirable to carry over 131 balances for specific purposes and commitments. Guidance from central campus and UW System will inform L&S policy and practice regarding appropriate 131 balances and carryover.
- Annual reporting. As part of the annual spring budget-building process, programs will be asked to develop and submit a budget for the next fiscal year to the L&S Budget Office. Faculty and staff salaries and other program expense information for the upcoming year will be entered into the budget system during the spring budget build process using these budget reports. Faculty and staff working in programs must be paid on the appropriate fund throughout the fiscal year to reflect the percentage of their work in the program. Departments should attempt to be as accurate as possible when projecting the program budget to minimize the need for cost transfers between funds throughout the fiscal year.
- Reviews of financial performance. The College reviews 131 programs at the end of each fiscal year and more frequently if warranted. New programs are reviewed by campus after 3 years, and then every 5 years thereafter. Programs will be asked to provide updated budgets as part of these reviews.
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