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University Finance and Administration

August 2022 Finance Town Hall

J. Michael Gower, Executive Vice President, Chief Financial Officer, and University Treasurer hosted a Finance Town Hall on August 17, 2022, for nearly 450 attendees. The agenda consisted of an overview of the university’s travel program as well as a review of the fiscal year 2023 budget. The video recording of the meeting and the presentation are available on the UFA website.

University Procurement Services – Travel Program Journey
Nimish Patel, Associate Vice President and Chief Procurement Officer, introduced both Anne Gutsick, Associate Director of Travel and Card Programs and Michael Philips, Manager of the Travel Program to discuss the Rutgers Travel Program Journey. Before COVID, Rutgers did not have an institution-wide travel program, and Rutgers staff and faculty managed and arranged their travel separately. A survey conducted by the Big Ten Academic Alliance showed that Rutgers lacked a travel booking tool/process and airline contracts. Furthermore, other major universities have robust travel programs, and this was a missed opportunity for Rutgers.

As COVID hit, Rutgers responded to ensure safety was paramount for all travelers by partnering with Academic Affairs, Risk Management, and others. Consultants were engaged to assist with completing a baseline assessment and developing a Request for Proposals (RFP) process to build a new travel program for Rutgers.

In 2019, the travel program consisted of a decentralized process where travelers arranged their own travel under an unmanaged program with little control over policy compliance. Duty of care, which ensures safety while traveling, was not consistently in place. Reimbursement of travel expenses occurred after travel, therefore staff and faculty had to pay for their travel expenses upfront with their personal funds. There were only four small agencies, and this hindered the ability to negotiate for better rates.

The RFP process consisted of a request for information followed by an RFP with selected agency presentations evaluated by a diverse committee of members representing campuses, schools, and departments. Focus group conversations with Athletics, Audit and Advisory Services, the Controller’s Office, Risk Management, and Study Abroad further provided feedback on specific requirements.

The travel program launched in April 2022 consisting of the implementation of the travel agency service and online booking tool as well as supplier agreements with major airlines, hotels, and car rental companies. Since its launch, there has been close to $150,000 in savings. As the online booking tool continues to be utilized, the tool will track the increased savings including discounts.

More than 1,500 people attend the demonstrations and training classes. Future enhancements to the travel program include an end-to-end process from booking to expense reporting, expense management, expanding the credit card program for conference registrations and other out-of-pocket expenses, virtual credit card solutions for travel payments, updating the travel policies and procedures, and providing robust reporting to business offices and departments. As Michael Philips mentioned, “This is the first iteration of many – our taking off point!”

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There were many questions asked from the participants -- please view the recording which will be posted on the  UFA website for more details.

Fiscal Year 2023 University Budget
David B. Moore, Associate Vice President and Chief Budget Officer, shared the university’s $5.1 billion fiscal year (FY) 2023 total budget which is a statement of the priorities and values of the University, and a recognition of the fiscal limitations. Of the total expenses, 77.3% is spent on the core missions of student instruction, research, public service, and patient care; 15.2% is spent on administration, operations, and maintenance; 4.8% is spent on auxiliary enterprise which includes housing, dining, parking, and transportation; and 2.7% is spent on Athletics. The top three sources of revenue for the university consist of tuition and fees (28%), patient care and services (21.5%), and New Jersey State appropriations (20.1%). The fiscal budget increased this year due to tuition/fee increases as well as other increases in auxiliary enterprise such as housing and dining to levels of capacity before the pandemic.

Rutgers maintains affordability by combining substantial financial aid from the University with qualifying state and federal aid programs, and more than 75% of Rutgers students receive some form of financial aid. The typical first-year, in-state Rutgers student paid less than the published tuition rate during the academic year 2020-2021.

There were serval questions asked from the participants - please view the recording which will be posted on the UFA website for more details.

Ask the Experts Sessions
Immediately after the Finance Town Hall concluded, a separate series of Zoom sessions were held. The sessions gave attendees the opportunity to “meet” and ask questions by popping in and out of the Zoom rooms. The following departments participated in the sessions:

  • University Controllers Office: Betsy Cafiero, Christy Dolce, Anthea Jeffrey, and Chea Smith
  • University Ethics and Compliance: Casey Woods
  • University Procurement Services: Rachael Domingo, Anne Gutsick, Gary Kucsan, Nimish Patel, Michael Philips, and Maggie Quinn