Budget Update


For the last several years Idaho State University has been operating with a structural budget deficit, a challenge we have been tackling together as we work to implement strategies and practices grounded in solid financial principles that will reduce the deficit over time. Our unified efforts have resulted in positive changes to our enrollment, increased philanthropy, expanded sponsorship, and strategic efficiency measures that optimize our resources. In order to truly and accurately understand the scope of the deficit, ISU had to upgrade our financial reporting structures over time as well. 

As we worked to implement all of these improvements, we also navigated a pandemic, legislative budget reductions, unfunded CEC increases, and most recently, a level of unprecedented inflationary cost escalations.  

Thanks to the diligent efforts of our Finance Team and Budget Advisory Group, we are now able to accurately ascertain and effectively resolve our structural deficit:

  • Through a campus-wide collaborative and transparent process we created a new budget model that sets us up like never before to weather financial challenges. Given the complicated nature of our large institutional budget, impacted by enrollment changes, legislative appropriations, CEC allotments, and more, this multi-year effort has been no small endeavor. 
  • The next critical phase in creating a structural budget that will carry us into the future is the data-informed Budget Optimization Initiative that is being led by the same team whose ingenuity successfully created the new budget model. I am grateful to this team for their commitment to modernizing our financial processes and bringing us to the point where we can effectively analyze and tactically address this long-time challenge.

With these efforts, I can confidently reiterate what I have said many times: There is no cause for alarm. There is, however, cause for continued purposeful action and attention to address the deficit in our central university funds. 

As a preventative measure that gives us increased flexibility and responsiveness for our future, effective immediately, I am authorizing a hiring pause and analysis as we continue to work through the complex Budget Optimization Initiative. I want to ensure that before we make commitments to hiring additional personnel, we have intentionally and thoroughly refined our understanding of the deficit situation and developed actionable strategies that position the university for sustainable growth and success. We must ensure that we have the ongoing resources needed to honor all additional new-hire commitments while closing our structural deficit once and for all. This pause will allow us to take meaningful steps toward effectively resolving the deficit and preserving our financial agility in the future. I believe that adopting this pause in hiring and salary-impacting actions, even temporarily, constitutes wise, proactive stewardship of our institutional resources.

I know we will have critical personnel needs during this hiring pause and it will be imperative we resolve those needs. Decision-making criteria will be put in place to allow colleges and unit heads to propose critical-need hires and related personnel actions, and we will develop and implement processes to allow leadership to review and make decisions related to critical hiring and salary actions. We also know that right before the Fall semester is when we hire many adjuncts, temporary staff, and students. While this pause means that all hiring actions need to be carefully thought through, we understand these positions are needed to operate and filling temporary positions in critical areas will not be interrupted.

To be clear and direct, and to address any unfounded speculation or concerns before they arise, let me state that this is not about layoffs or furloughs. This is about taking the time to strategically analyze every position as it becomes vacant in the normal course of our work before we rehire for that position.

I have every confidence that by using a mix of well-planned and executed strategies, we can close this structural deficit and ensure that future generations of students, faculty and staff enjoy the financial resiliency that will result from our collective work. Thank you for your patience, understanding, and cooperation as we prepare for this next step in our evolution as an institution.


Faculty and staff are encouraged to attend a Budget Town Hall with the President on August 24. Additional time has been planned for the town hall to foster a deeper discussion about the budget and the Budget Optimization Initiative and provide an opportunity for questions. More details will be announced soon.

Budget information, timely updates, and opportunities to provide feedback and suggestions can be found at isu.edu/budget.

Idaho State
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