Financial Review Reports

Purpose and Intent

Western Washington University’s Operating Budget is the culmination of a comprehensive planning effort that considers outcomes from the state’s enacted operating budget through the annual legislative session, near and mid-term student enrollment forecasts, opportunities to advance the University’s Strategic Plan objectives, and annual budget planning principles. While the annual operating budget is a resource plan based on the best information known at the time, it historically differs from the actual revenues generated and expenditures utilized within the fiscal year due to many factors, such as:

  • Changes to State appropriations from the State supplemental budget process,

  • Mid-year budget allocations due to emerging and unforeseen needs, and

  • Fluctuations to revenue generating budget drivers, primarily enrollments.

Outside of the Operating Budget, Western has many units or enterprises whose operations are funded primarily through dedicated fees or charges for services. These areas have distinct budgets with revenues primarily generated to support the delivery of these services, and financial planning processes vary among them depending on the nature of the funding source, complexity of the enterprise, legal requirements, among other factors.

Currently, the University produces several annual financial reports and publications, including the audited Financial Statements and the annual Budget Publication. Budget and Financial Planning’s objectives of this Financial Review document are to:

  • Present the University’s financial performance for the completed fiscal year as compared to the year’s annual budget plan,
  • Create standard definitions for WWU’s commonly used budgetary and financial terms,
  • Provide further clarity to the annual Financial Statement by separating distinct budget categories for their respective review and analysis based on their funding sources; identifying restrictions that exist on each enterprise’s budget and demonstrating each enterprise’s budgetary status,
  • Create enhanced understanding of the University’s financial picture to support decision-making processes by University leadership and stakeholders and identify areas where further attention is warranted.

Common inquiries raised through prior budget processes have demonstrated the need to produce this document to provide University stakeholders with additional resources on the University’s financial position.  These inquiries have focused on allocation of resources across divisions, cash reserve balances and their availability for use, the effect of student enrollments on the University budget, and how to request new funding through the University’s multiple budget processes.  It is our intention that this document will provide the information necessary to address many of these inquiries, furthering transparency into the University’s fiscal decision making, and advancing financial stewardship at all levels of the institution.