Despite the financial constraints set by COVID-19, the 2020-2021 university carry-forward funds surpassed last fiscal year by $16 million.

USF’s Board of Trustees on Tuesday approved the 2020-2021 Carry Forward spending plan by unanimous vote. Presented by Associate Vice President of Resource Management and Analysis Nick Setteducato, the plan consists of unspent university money that has accumulated over the years and carried forward to the next fiscal year.

In total, about $257 million was designated for the state Educational and General (E&G) fund before encumbrances universitywide. However, after the 7 percent statutory reserve requirement, the funding was lowered to about $206 million.

Compared to the 2019-2020 fiscal year, the balance increased by nearly $16 million with a total of $190 million after the 7 percent reduction from the statutory reserve requirement, according to Setteducato.

He said the reason behind the increase in funds is due to the decrease in incurred expenses during the last fiscal year.

“We basically have spent a little bit less finishing last year, which allowed us to have a larger balance of carry forward for this year. If you think about it, because of the pandemic, although we incurred a lot more additional costs because of the things we had to do, we also did get CARES [Act funds] but we delayed the expenditure of things,” Setteducato said.

“The university, although we were providing digital learning, a lot of our facilities and things were not open, employees were home and there wasn’t travel going on. So our current year budget wasn’t being spent to the level it might have normally done in terms of a run rate.”

In the plan, Setteducato said the university allocates the unspent money to fund university operations across all three campuses — Tampa, St. Pete and Sarasota-Manatee — as well as USF Health.

The Tampa campus had the highest total planned E&G carry-forward spending with a total of $137 million after discounting the 7 percent reserve. USF Health had the second-highest with a total of $39 million, followed by the Sarasota-Manatee and St. Pete campuses with $16 million and $14 million, respectively.

The E&G Carry Forward spending plan is divided into three categories associated with purchase orders, including encumbrances associated with purchase orders, restricted/contractual obligations by appropriation, BOT and specific contractual commitments, which are set aside for specific, time-limited purposes.

Each category consequently breaks down into four subcategories: facilities, infrastructure and IT; academic and student affairs; compliance, audit, and security; and BOT-approved operating requirements.

As a result of the financial impact created by the current pandemic, a subcategory focused on COVID-19-related expenditures was added for the 2020-2021 fiscal year under BOT-approved operating requirements. For the encumbrances and commitments category, the university allocated $214,000 and $17.8 million in COVID-19-related expenditures, respectively.

The encumbrances category will be allocated a total of about $10.3 million, which will be designated to specific purchase orders, while $73.9 million will be allocated to the restricted category.

The highest allocation, however, lies under the commitments category with a total of $121.7 million in carry-forward funds.

Under the academic and student affairs category, carry-forward money will be allocated to fund faculty startup funds, student services and financial aid, instructional and advising support, and student enrollment and retention.

For facilities, infrastructure and IT, the funds will go toward renovation, repair and maintenance projects, and equipment for IT. The compliance, audit and security subcategory will allocate funds toward campus security and safety enhancements as well as accreditation and compliance program enhancements.

The deadline to submit the plan to the Florida Board of Governors is Oct. 1, but before its submission, Setteducato said the plan will return to the next BOT meeting for a final review.

Source: USF approves Carry Forward spending plan – The Oracle