Fiscal Year 2020: Managing our Expense Budget

Due to projected lower revenues for fiscal year 2020 (FY20), we accommodated by adjusting our expenses. Every unit at UTSA was asked to undertake immediate cost-saving measures to sustain our campus priorities, protect as many jobs as possible and continue to uphold the university’s core educational mission.

Proactive measures for FY20 included:

  • Limiting expenditures to those that are critical and essential to maintaining our current level of operations.
  • Pausing recruitment activities for all new staff and faculty, with few exceptions.
  • Not filling vacant positions, unless the position is funded by external sponsors.
  • Restricting university-sponsored international or domestic travel, unless deemed mission-critical or health-critical as approved by university leadership. These restrictions continued through May 31, 2020, with the potential for extension. Learn more about the university’s current travel guidelines
  • Moving operating and reserve remaining available balances to institutional reserves to maintain our workforce and campus operations. See the next section for more information on this item.

Moving Operating and Reserve Remaining Balances

As one of 14 institutions in the University of Texas System, UTSA is required to continuously monitor net operating income and revenue/expense variances throughout the fiscal year. Moreover, UTSA is required to maintain positive cash flows, adequate cash position, and fundamental ratios (annual operating margins, cash and investments to operating expenses, and spendable cash and investment to total debt) that are tied to the bond rating of the institution (presently Aa3).

Given the above, reserves held throughout our campus are considered institutional funds under the control of the president and are included in the numbers referenced above.

This data is reported quarterly to the Board of Regents and serve as key performance indicators for the annual institutional review of the president and the university. Our campus-wide balances in E&G, Designated and Auxiliary funds constitute an important component of our cash flow, cash position and ratios. 

The university’s operating reserves have contributed to UTSA’s good financial standing. Reserves are intended, in part, to continue operations in the case of an emergency. These funds are enabling us to continue operations for the remainder of this current fiscal year, and we are fortunate to have them.

As of March 2020, our projections indicated a $19M loss related to operations. This directly impacts our cash flows and use of reserves. Our Annual Operating Margin Ratio reflected a projection for year-end of (5.4)%. Based on these numbers, it is clear that our remaining balances should be used only for critical or essential use and to address the emergency need for our projected loss.

In mid-April, unit area leaders and financial leads were provided with full details of actions related to operating reserves and remaining available balances.

The following balances were moved to institutional reserves based on unencumbered balances reported as of March 31, 2020:

  • 58% of E&G (Fund 2100). This excludes numerous key items, such as centrally-funded benefits, utilities, faculty start-up funds, summer faculty administrative and instructional funds and more. A full list of exclusions was provided to leadership and financial area leads.
  • 58% of Designated Tuition (Fund 3105), with applicable exclusions (see above).
  • 100% of Official Occasions (Fund 3100).

The following remain in their designated or restricted cost centers:

  • Incidental fees and Facilities & Administrative (F&A) rate reserves (Fund 3100) and Service Center (Fund 3200) balances.
  • Gift and Endowment (fund 5500 and 5600) balances.

Auxiliary units and other designated sales and services (Fund 4XXX and 3100) will be closely managed for the remainder of the year to minimize expenditures in order to allow for strategic use of reserves. These areas have already seen significant financial impact due to reduced on-campus activity. Where possible, identified available balances may be used for institutional reserves.

Further review will take place for Mandatory Fee (Fund 3100 and 3115) balances to establish individual reserve cost centers.