CSU Budget Model Redesign


Colorado State University recognizes a need to design and implement a new budget model that will further the financial prioritization of our mission areas as well as proactively support growth and success in the ever-changing landscape of higher education. 

The process of renewing our budget model will involve broad faculty, staff, and student engagement in conversations about future possibilities with CSU’s best interest in mind. It will allow us to shift from our current incremental budget to a model shaped by guiding values that enables continued alignment with our land-grant mission. The process of the Budget Model Redesign will enable us as a University community to collectively define a path forward that provides our colleges, centers, and divisions greater opportunity to invest strategically.

With input and representation from the University community, the process to design a new model will be future-focused, support entrepreneurial thinking, and foster adaptability to keep CSU competitive, enabling us to continue delivering on our mission of access and inclusive excellence, high-quality educational experiences, outreach and engagement, and unmatched research excellence with impact reaching around the globe. We aspire to build a new budget model that permits stronger avenues for creativity and discovery and increased agility while improving fiscal responsibility and transparency in our financial decision-making processes. 


After launching the Budget Model Redesign in Spring 2023, CSU leadership initiated Phase One of the redesign by meeting with professional consultants and representatives from other universities to learn about the budget model landscape in higher education, some best practices for budget remodeling, and lessons learned during similar processes at peer institutions. 

At the start of the fall semester, CSU transitioned out of the initial Research Phase and into Phase Two, a period of planning and diagnostics. Within this phase there were extensive stakeholder meetings, community fora, internal and external data collection, and the charging and determination of responsibilities of the Budget Model Redesign committees. The Planning and Diagnostic Phase laid the foundation for creating a budget model to best support our University’s values and land-grant mission.  

Whereas phases one and two focused on gathering information and input, phase three commences committee work on designing a new budget model for CSU. The Design Phase will include continued communication with our community and the utilization of the data and feedback gathered to inform preliminary budget model prototypes. The committees, which reflect the University community and our shared governance, will work collaboratively and will regularly report their progress in designing a CSU-specific budget model proposal. 

Projected Timeline (subject to change)

NOTE: Phase 3 of the Budget Model Redesign has been extended. Please see the Updates page for the latest information.

Budget Model Redesign Timeline: Research in Summer 2023; Planning and diagnostics in August through November 2023; Design in December 2023 through April 2024; Shadow budget preparation in April through July 2024; and shadow budget year in August 2024 through July 2025.

Phase four is Universitywide preparation for implementing the new budget model in a shadow year. During this time, a proposed budget model candidate will be decided upon by the Executive Sponsor Committee. Work will then commence for an FY24-25 shadow budget,* with broad training and implementation sessions to aid the campus community in acclimating to the new budget model. 

During the shadow year, learning and listening will continue. The Budget Model Redesign committees will continue their work to learn and shape the model as part of finalizing the proposed budget model candidate. It is anticipated that the final budget model candidate will be ready for implementation in FY25-26. 

*A shadow budget describes the application of the new model as a test run before implementation. The new model will run on “paper” via accounting and budget software, parallel to the continued execution of the traditional incremental budget. This is done to test the new budget model, its formulas and allocation methodologies based on guiding values, and to identify any needed tweaks before the new model replaces the incremental model in the following fiscal year. 

About CSU’s Budget Conversation Series

Colorado State University is inviting all faculty, staff, and students to engage in two different yet simultaneous series of campus conversations and listening sessions around the institution’s budget. The first series of conversations focuses on the University’s current budget for FY23-24 and FY24-25, referred to as the operating or Incremental Budget.

The second series of conversations focuses on options for renewing our budget model for an innovative future in alignment with our land-grant mission and institutional priorities. The goal is to design a budget model that enables greater creativity and increased agility while improving fiscal responsibility and transparency in our financial decision-making processes. This is what is referred to as the Budget Model Redesign.