In an effort to improve the University of Colorado Boulder’s financial resilience and health, a committee has identified projects that will save the school $30 million in various ways.
Financial Futures is an initiative started in 2018 that aims to align resources to CU Boulder’s mission, support the Academic Futures initiative and improve the school’s financial resilience.
In in an initial round of brainstorming, the campus community proposed more than 340 ideas for the Financial Futures project. Of those, 85 projects have been chosen to move forward in the first round because they aligned with the initiative’s goals.
“All of these initiatives that we’re undertaking are really helping us to double down on the core mission of our university, which is to support students, help them succeed and be a major research university,” said Provost Russell Moore. “The future is changing so rapidly that most of these initiatives represent first steps upon which we can respond to the future.”
CU Boulder has several other ongoing initiatives, including Academic Futures, the Inclusion, Diversity and Excellence in Academics Plan, Foundations of Excellence and more. The cost savings and extra revenue generated by Financial Futures will help the school realize the other projects, some of which will require additional funds, according to the university.
The first wave of Financial Futures projects focus on six areas: procurement, gift funds, undergraduate enrollment, retention, summer and evening school, and online learning.
Projects include developing a campuswide scholarship policy, improving the student transfer website and centralizing scheduling software.
There are 14 focus areas the university will explore in subsequent waves of the project. Moore said he thinks each area is promising in its own way. They also provide opportunities for people in different areas of the university to work together.
“We’re a big, complicated, but really exciting institution, so all of these fit together because they’re all mission critical,” he said.
Some of the more exciting aspects of the initiative is how it aligns with the school’s mission by supporting student success and retention, Moore said. To improve access and affordability, it’s necessary to analyze CU Boulder’s financial model.
“This is an opportunity for us to build a dynamic and productive future in service of our mission,” said Kelly Fox, senior vice chancellor and chief financial officer at CU Boulder.
The initial round has an estimated cost savings of $30 million, which stems from not only increased revenue but also cost containment and efficiencies, Fox said.
Completion dates for the 85 projects vary, but most, if not all, should go into effect within the next year, she said. Financial Futures is already in the solution design phase of the next wave of projects, which entails engaging the campus to get ideas and then find project donors to help bring those ideas to life.