The University of Chicago, inclusive of its medical center and research labs, is a $5 billion enterprise. The Budget Office is responsible for the annual development and monitoring of the University budget, exclusive of the UCMC, BSD, or research affiliates.
One of the distinguishing features of the University’s operating budget is that its revenue base is spread over a number of different sources. This makes the University less vulnerable during economic downturns because it is not overly reliant on one revenue stream. A look at ten years of revenue data shows that private gift income represents a much greater share of University revenue than it did a decade ago. Tuition revenue has consistently contributed approximately 40 percent to the University revenue base. More of that revenue is now being generated by the College due to the large growth in the undergraduate population in recent years. As the undergraduate population has grown, so has the amount of financial aid provided to students. Beginning with the launch of the Odyssey program in FY 2008, the amount of aid given to students has risen at a much faster pace than the increase in total student charges. Similar to other higher education institutions, the largest portion of the University’s budget is dedicated to labor costs. These costs are divided among faculty and staff salaries and their associated fringe benefit costs. Just as the ten-year look of revenue trends shows a clear increase in philanthropic support, the longitudinal look at expenditure trends shows that interest and depreciation comprise an increasing share of the University expense base – a trend that will continue in future years.
Budget planning for the upcoming fiscal year begins approximately six months before the start of the new fiscal year and concludes in June. The goal each year is to strike the proper balance between investing in programs to maintain and grow the University’s eminence and executing the fiscal discipline to make sure the University retains its long term financial flexibility.