Coronavirus Updates: The latest information for students, faculty & staff

Frequently Asked Questions

1.  Why is UTSA moving to Incentivized Resource Management?
IRM's primary goal is to develop an approach to resource allocation that is better aligned with the evolving mission of the university, that is more transparent, and better connects decision making responsibility with the investment of financial resources.
2.  How is this project aligned with UTSA’s strategic goals?
This project is closely aligned with UTSA's other major strategic initiatives on student success and strategic enrollment. As a transparent budget model, IRM better connects resource allocation with UTSA’s mission and strategic priorities to help the institution make the most efficient use of its resources.
3.  What is a Revenue Unit?

Revenue Units have a greater ability to influence revenue that is generated for the campus through direct revenue-producing activities, such as delivering instruction, conducting research, or providing services (e.g., room and board). In aggregate, Revenue Units are responsible for generating enough revenue to cover the costs of the central support units. Revenue Units are further sub-categorized as either an academic or auxiliary unit.  

 The Academic Revenue Units will include:

  • College of Architecture, Construction, and Planning
  • College of Business
  • College of Education and Human Development
  • College of Engineering
  • College of Liberal and Fine Arts
  • College of Public Policy
  • College of Sciences
  • University College (beginning in 2019 after restricting for student success areas moved)

The Auxiliary Revenue Units will include:

  • Athletics
  • Campus Recreation
  • Child Development Center
  • Food and Dining Services
  • Housing Services
  • Parking & Transportation
  • Student Health Services
  • Student Union (previously University Center)
  • Extended Education (beginning in 2019)
4.  What is a Support Unit?

Support Units tend to have little-to-no influence over revenue that is generated for the campus.  Support Units include central functions, such as business affairs, facilities, and human resources, that support all campus units. In aggregate, Revenue Units  are responsible for generating enough revenue to cover the costs of the Support Units.   

Support Units are further sub-categorized as either an academic support or administrative support unit. Among other characteristics, Support Units tend to share the following features:

  • Limited-to-no ability to influence revenue
  • Provide services and/or support to Colleges, Schools, Centers & Institutes, and Auxiliaries
  • Accountable for optimal service levels and fiscal performance
  • Encouraged to justify funding levels through benchmarking
5.  How are Centers & Institutes treated in the new budget model?
In the proposed model, and in most cases, Centers & Institutes are situated within the Academic Units, and therefore, are part of a Revenue Unit for the purposes of revenue and cost allocations.
6.  What is the subvention fund?
The subvention fund is a pool of monies for those units not able to cover direct costs. The largest revenue sources used to fill the subvention fund include undergraduate tuition, graduate tuition, and general state appropriations. Grants, contracts, direct (restricted) state appropriations, fees, and gifts do not contribute to the subvention fund.
7.  How will carryforward dollars be handled under IRM?

Carryforward funds are defined as unexpended balances at the end of the fiscal year. IRM allows for  some, if not all, carryforward of unrestricted funds. Greater carryforward limitations may be placed on self-supporting auxiliaries to keep student charges as low as possible.

8.  What is the incentive to promote Support Unit efficiencies so that central costs do not unfairly consume resources from the Academic Units?
Support Unit expenses are a complex union of fixed and discretionary costs. In most cases, Support Units will make annual budgetary requests of a committee that is largely represented by the Revenue Units. Budgetary requests will be informed through service level demands and performance.
9.  What are some common examples of institutional improvements sparked through the implementation of incentive-based budget models?

One common example of an institutional improvement is an enhanced focus on revenue growth. Deans quickly realize that growth of revenues through utilization of a greatly increased mix of financial levers (undergraduate and graduate programming, grants and contracts, fundraising, etc.) results in increased budgets.

Another example is stronger academic control of direct expenditures. While the focus on revenues will be the most significant change in budget philosophy, a keener awareness of expenditures should also develop across the institution. 

A final example is the continuous improvement of administrative operations. The proposed model offers greatly enhanced transparency into administrative costs such that deans and other academic stakeholders will become more naturally aware, and perhaps critical, of service levels offered by these units. Accordingly, these “consumers” will demand improvement when service and/or costs appear to be unreasonable or misaligned. This feedback loop keeps the administrative units focused on efforts to continue to innovate, improve, and better serve the university community.

10.  What is the typical timeframe for a university to transition from an incremental budget model, like the one UTSA currently operates, to an incentive-based budget model?

Organizational complexity and change management capacity vary across institutions; therefore, implementation approaches and timeframes will vary as well. Some institutions adopt an incentive-based model in as little as eighteen months, while others have struggled with implementation for as long as five years. On average, higher education institutions take about 2.6 years from planning to full implementation.

11.  What type of training will colleges receive on the new model?

During the FY19 parallel year, colleges will be provided training on all the drivers used for allocating revenue. In addition, colleges will be provided information on activity levels, parallel year allocations and participation fee cost centers. Similar training will also be provided to all auxiliary units.