University Budget Office

The University Budget Office manages, develops, monitors and analyzes the university's multimillion dollar operating budget.  We forecast and analyze the university's financial status, respond to fiscal inquiries and ensure compliance with state and NACUBO guidelines. We also advise on the resolution of budget issues and maintain position control and vacancy reporting for state positions. 

Purchasing Guidelines

TU’s faculty and staff play an important role in maintaining our sound financial footing.  We ask you to do your part:

  • Limit purchases to those that are essential to our academic mission, health and safety, or essential business operations.
  • Before purchasing anything, consider whether there are lower or no-cost options available to you, such as utilizing on-campus sources for furniture and computers before purchasing them new. 
  • All purchase requisitions must be submitted with an Essential Purchase Approval. Grant-funded purchases are exempt from this requirement. Access the Essential Purchase Approval for purchases less than $20,000, the Essential Purchase Approval for purchases $20,000-$49,999, or the Essential Purchase Approval for purchases over $50,000.
  • Purchases of $20,000 or more require approval by the department/college’s associate vice president or dean, and purchases of $50,000 or more require approval by the divisional vice president or provost.
  • Some examples of essential purchases include critical learning tools for students, supplies necessary for the health and safety of the campus community, tools that facilitate online learning, and purchases needed to implement legislative requirements. 

By finding creative solutions and taking a prudent approach to spending, we can all help TU stay strong.

Budget News & Updates 

The FY 2021 budget is continually evolving based on the latest state revenue projections and USM guidance. As information becomes available it is shared with the campus community via email.

Budget Communications

 Dear Colleagues,

We want to provide a budget update as the University System of Maryland (USM) and our institution, like many across the nation and the globe, continue to respond to the expansive economic impact of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Today, with Towson University’s unequivocal support, the USM Board of Regents voted to not increase tuition and fee increases for the 2020–2021 academic year. TU and all USM institutions will keep tuition and fees—including parking fees for faculty and staff—level at fiscal year (FY) 2020 rates throughout the next academic year. This significant action, in recognition of the economic hardships facing many of our students due to COVID-19, will have an estimated $6 million impact on TU’s FY21 budget.

We will continue to update you as we learn more about state budget projections and their resultant impact on our institution.

Towson University has incurred an estimated $40 million in losses for FY20, and we anticipate continued financial impacts from COVID-19 through FY21. While we do not yet know the full scope of the impact, we expect the state of Maryland to make substantial adjustments to state agency budgets to offset increased costs and reduced tax revenue to date and in the months to come.

We want to reaffirm the importance of adhering to the prudent financial practices shared in the May 27 budget message to campus. These practices—including a hiring freeze and limiting expenditures to only essential purchases—will be critical to our continued stability and success. The university’s careful planning and immediate implementation of these practices have enabled our institution to absorb the initial losses without the need for furloughs or layoffs, and they will continue to help us remain financially stable while preserving our No. 1 resource: faculty and staff. 

While we are projecting additional significant losses in FY21 due to COVID-19, we have many tools to address those shortfalls. We have worked with our auxiliary areas to cut expenses while maintaining appropriate service levels to the campus. We have worked with USM leadership to reduce obligations related to financial contributions to debt repayment and fund balance. We have cut back on construction projects, continuing only major projects and those required to preserve safety. We have frozen hiring and out-of-state travel and limited purchases to those that are truly essential. Collectively, these measures will save tens of millions of dollars and help us offset projected losses.

We cannot protect the financial stability of our institution without addressing the financial stability of our campus community. For this reason, in addition to delineating furloughs and layoffs as a last resort and establishing the Student and Faculty & Staff Emergency Funds, we have also advocated for student support through the Federal CARES Act and the USM tuition and fee structures.

The Federal CARES Act was signed into law this March to allow for the distribution of funds to groups affected by the pandemic, including funds for student aid and reimbursement for lost revenue at higher education institutions. TU applied for Federal CARES funding this spring, and was awarded $8.667 million for student aid. Those funds have largely been distributed to eligible students through TU’s Financial Aid Office. A portion has been set aside for projected needs in FY21, and the application system remains open. TU was also approved for $8.667 million in reimbursement funds, which will be used to offset COVID-19-related losses and expenses. 

In the coming weeks and months, we will continue to develop and refine multilayered planning models to project and plan for the range of scenarios ahead. For now, fall 2020 enrollment numbers remain steady, and we are cautiously optimistic, with the understanding that circumstances may shift as the pandemic’s economic effect influences student and family decisions.

In the interim, we will continue to plan carefully for the reopening of our campus and the return to classes this fall. We invite you to ask any questions about our Return to TU planning, campus reopening and financial situation at our next Faculty and Staff Town Hall on Thursday, June 25 at 4 p.m.

Thank you for coming together to support Towson University and our campus community through these most challenging times.

Kim Schatzel

Melanie Perreault
Provost and Executive Vice President for Academic and Student Affairs

Ben Lowenthal
Chief Fiscal Officer and Vice President for Administration & Finance

Dear TU faculty and staff,

The collective response to the COVID-19 pandemic by our Towson University community—led by our incredible faculty and staff—has been inspiring and reaffirms our important role as an anchor institution for greater Baltimore and Maryland. 

Earlier this spring, Gov. Hogan shared a fiscal update for Maryland, outlining a projected loss and the implementation of hiring and budget freezes for matters unrelated to COVID-19. While the governor’s announcement did not directly impact TU, the financial costs of this crisis will be substantial for the state. Therefore, we expect there will be resultant challenges for higher education and, consequently, Towson University. 

Despite an estimated $40 million in losses in fiscal year (FY) 2020 related to COVID-19 resulting from our transition to remote teaching/learning/working and the subsequent refunding of a portion of students’ room, board and fees, we were able to manage this significant shortfall without layoffs, furloughs or budget reductions because of our continued fiscal responsibility. Our immediate hiring pause and expense and travel restrictions in early spring, combined with a strong financial position, enabled the university to absorb the fiscal impact of the pandemic for FY20.

While both summer enrollment and fall student housing contracts are currently ahead of projections as compared to last year, the university is keeping a close eye on fall 2020 enrollment. It is prudent to anticipate that the pandemic’s effect on our state’s and nation’s economies might impact financial resources for students and families in the coming months, potentially influencing decisions on when and where to attend college.

As we prepare for FY21, which begins July 1, additional challenges must be considered. Among them are declines in our state funding allocation as Maryland manages COVID-19 fiscal impact, increased costs to prepare for reopening and returning to campus and decreased revenues as we move to a lower-density model for campus operations. 

Given these potentially significant challenges to the university’s budget model and their impact on FY21, we have approved that the following actions be immediately implemented:

  1. Limit FY21 operating budget to absolutely essential expenditures, including the deferral of $2.1 million in funding for new initiatives.
  2. Limit all purchase order requisitions to absolutely essential expenditures in FY21.
  3. Extend the hiring pause for nonmission-critical and nonessential new positions as well as all vacancies for FY21.
  4. Construction on the new Science Complex, University Union, StarTUp at the Armory, 401 Washington and College of Health Professions facility will continue as planned, but all other construction and facility renewals will be limited to projects related to the reopening of campus or those necessary to continue campus operations.
  5. Suspend all study abroad programs for the fall 2020 term.
  6. Travel related to university business will be limited to Maryland and the District of Columbia for FY21.

While there is much uncertainty with regard to many major factors impacting FY21, the success of these cost-saving measures is critical to the determination that a furlough and/or layoff action will not be a necessary part of our current response to the fiscal challenges. These difficult measures detailed above will go a long way to protect our university’s most valuable resource—our dedicated faculty and staff.

To be clear, serious fiscal challenges lie ahead for our university, the University System of Maryland (USM), and the state. As we move forward toward FY21, Towson University, in alignment with the USM, will consider any employee personnel actions as a last resort to address the fiscal impacts related to COVID-19.

Our next important step is to reopen the campus and return to classes this fall. With that said, the Return to TU Task Force has taken every precaution and ensured every preparation to support the delivery of a fall 2020 term that keeps the health and safety of our students, faculty and staff our greatest priority. Major decisions that facilitate reopening and return will be announced next week. Additionally, a live virtual town hall with the president, provost and vice president of administration and finance is planned for Thursday, June 4 at 10 a.m. More details about the town hall will be provided early next week.

Finally, we must also pause and take heed of the impact of this pandemic on our community. The cost to many of our families goes far beyond dollars and cents. As COVID-19 has indiscriminately spread across our nation, it has and will continue to directly affect the lives and well-being of many of our fellow Tigers. We must all remain committed to supporting each other through this crisis to the fullest extent possible.

While our spring term’s culmination traditionally marks a moment to pause and reflect, we want to thank our staff and faculty who are hard at work throughout the summer and preparing for the fall. Our important work to lift up this great university community is indeed continuing. Through our academic mission, TU will act as a significant catalyst for the USM and the state’s economic recovery.

Again, thank you for supporting our students and each other, 

Kim Schatzel

Melanie Perreault
Provost and Executive Vice President for Academic and Student Affairs

Ben Lowenthal
Vice President for Administration and Finance and Chief Financial Officer

Budget Process & Timeline

Budgeting is a continual process wherein departments are planning for the next year's budget while managing the current fiscal year. The budget process timeline lays out responsibilities and milestones in preparing the university's complex budget.

Operating Budget and Plan

The University Budget Office publishes an annual Operating Budget and Plan book to share information about the university’s internal budget. The book outlines key budget changes from the previous fiscal year and provides an overview of each division’s budget by revenue source. It is published each fall for the current fiscal year.

PeopleSoft Budgeting Information

Towson University's budget is managed through PeopleSoft. Access PeopleSoft Budgeting Information for help working with budgets, running reports, and requesting revenue transfers. You can also access a list of parent and child accounts, and information on working with self support departments, initiatives and queries. 

TU’s STRATUS project is streamlining and modernizing existing business systems, starting with PeopleSoft Financials. Find out about the project's scope, timeline and what to expect.

Learn About STRATUS

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Contact Information

University Budget Office

Administration Building 
Room 403
Monday - Friday
8:00 a.m. - 4:30 p.m.