On January 1, 2016 the state of Nebraska increased minimum wage from $8 an hour to $9 an hour. With the state increase, the over 650 college students working for University of Nebraska-Lincoln Campus Recreation Department received a raise.
In addition to the minimum wage raise, UNL predicted the cost of utilities would increase in 2016. The recreation department had to pay $45 more for the ice center they rent out by the hour. Staff salary, wages and benefits were increased as well.
In order to fund student raises, Stan Campbell, the associate vice chancellor and director of campus recreation, had to ask the university for a department budget increase of 2.6 percent. When developing a budget presentation, Campbell gathered as much information as he could from the business and finance division at the university.
Campbell had to present his budget plan to six separate organizations before it was approved. The first presentation was to the campus recreation advisory council, made up of 13 students and three faculty and staff members. From there, it went to a Committee of Allocation, then student government to the vice chancellor for student affairs, the chancellor and finally the Regents. And each group was allowed to suggest changes to the presentation or budget.
Though tedious, Campbell said each step is necessary to assembling the best budget presentation. “We pride ourselves on allowing our students a lot of input into decisions of where their student fee dollar goes,” explained Campbell “The majority of our funding does come from student fees, so we want to make sure that we are presenting a budget request that reflects their needs.”
He assembled the entire presentation in a Power Point that documented how the funds would be allocated through the department, as well as the mission of campus recreation at UNL. Campbell said the most important part of any budget presentation educating students and administration about the departments’ needs, which he said, is based on student needs.
Since his budget presentation was ultimately approved, Campbell explained the only problem he’s had to overcome is explaining the wage compression. All campus recreation student employees are now making the same amount, no matter if certain students were previously paid more because of their title or responsibilities.
“I think each campus is unique and has it’s own nuances,” added Campbell. “In talking to my colleagues, some of them say they would not like to go through quite as extensive of a process as we go through. And in some cases, on their campuses, students may give input on increasing a budget. On our campus, we have no safety net. So if students are unhappy with what we’re offering, they can vote to recommend a reduction in our budget, that doesn’t necessarily mean we’re going to get what we got the previous year. If they’re not happy with what we’re providing, they can make a recommendation to reduce our budget request.”
If you too are faced with the task of presenting a budget, check out these tips from Business Insider. Read it here.