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          7.03      General Policies

           A.      Budgets

1.      Spending Plans

Sound fiscal policy includes the development of a spending plan.  Consistent with the Board’s strategic plan to serve the people of Iowa and to utilize effective management systems, Regent spending plans would

      • Maintain Board and institutional strategic priorities; and
      • Pursue:
        • Continuous quality improvement towards reaching best practices in the delivery of education and other services; and
        • Opportunities to realize greater efficiency in operations.

These spending plans would provide transparency promoting more public accountability; demonstrate support for Regent strategic priorities; and identify parameters for seeking financial resources.

a.      Spending Plan Criteria for Operations

1)      Relationship to Regent and institutional strategic plans.

2)      Identification of plausible available resources, including leveraging provided from external sources.

3)      Impact on education, research, outreach, and other areas important to Iowans.

4)      Equity among institutions.

5)      Accountability.

b.      Spending Plan Criteria for Capital Projects

1)      Relationship of projects to institutional strategic plans.

2)      Priority order of projects in the prior Board-approved five-year plan.

3)      Priority ranking of projects as submitted by institutions.

4)      Prior appropriations for planning and/or construction.

5)      Consistency of the project with the campus master plan.

6)      External funding which provides a leverage of state resources.

7)      Impact of projects on education, research, outreach, and other areas important to the state.

8)      Equity among institutions.

9)      Accountability.

2.      Funding Plans

The Board asserts that maximizing available resources is imperative to providing high quality public education for Iowans; cutting-edge research and creative activities to enhance the quality of life; and needed public services that help fuel the state’s economy in the best interest of all Iowans.

Because of the variety of institutions governed by the Board, different funding plans are necessary based on function, spending plans, and types of available resources.

a.      Universities’ General Education

Higher education in Iowa is a partnership among Iowa students and their parents, out-of-state students and their parents, Iowa taxpayers, Iowa public policy makers, the Board of Regents, and the Regent universities.

Funding opportunities for higher education includes three key resource components requiring specific Board action:

1)     State Appropriations - Iowa taxpayers and public policy makers share.

2)        Tuition revenues - student and family share (See Chapter 8.02 Tuition, of this Policy Manual).

3)          University reallocations - Regent and university share (See subsection 4, Reallocations, below).

b.  Special Schools’ General Education

Provision of services by the two special schools must be provided at no cost to Iowa students.

1)          The key funding resource for Board action is state appropriations, which provide over 90% of the schools’ operating funds. 

2)         The Board encourages the schools to leverage other available resources whenever possible.

c.      Other institutional units (such as legislatively appropriated units including the Hygienic Laboratory, Agriculture Experiment Stations, Cooperative Extension, economic development operations Lakeside Lab and regional study centers, as well as residence systems, UIHC, athletics, parking, etc.)

Funding consideration will be based on priority of:

1)            Institutional needs/initiatives

2)            Available resources

3)            Other criteria as appropriate

3.            Appropriations Process

a.            The Board’s strategic plan requires it to continue its long-standing practice of seeking state appropriations annually.

b.            The chronological appropriations process for the institutions governed by the Board of Regents includes the following:

1)      Regent institutions identify institutional funding requests based on the established criteria for operating and capital requests.

2)      The Board considers preliminary institutional operating funding needs.

3)      The Board Office gathers institutional information, discusses priorities, and proposes broad funding plans that include appropriations requests.

4)      At its September meeting, the Board approves appropriations requests.

a)      By October 1, the Board-approved appropriations requests are submitted to the Governor, as required by law. 

b)      The Governor prepares state appropriations recommendations, including appropriations recommendations for Regent institutions for the legislative session.

c)      During the legislative session, the General Assembly and Governor consider and authorize appropriations.

4.   Reallocations

The following represents the key components of the reallocation policy:  

a        Definition:  Reallocation of institutional funds occurs when funds within the base budget of a defined university entity (presidential/vice presidential unit, college, academic or nonacademic department, division, program, or other unit) are removed by the dean, vice president, or president overseeing that entity and redirected to another entity or purpose. 

b.      Regent universities shall internally reallocate funds annually as a budgeting best practice.  Reallocation may be made to: 

1)     Support strategic initiatives of the Board and institutions

2)      Meet enrollment increases and the demand for new 
 courses and services

3)      Fund unavoidable or mandated cost increases

4)      Meet lower revenue targets 

5)   Support other initiatives important to the core functions
 of the institutions

        The reallocation policy will be reviewed at least every five years.

5.      Budgeting Guidance for Student Fees and Charges

As allowed by Iowa Code section 262.9(18), Regent universities may utilize non-tuition components of the general university funds first.  Accordingly, general university funds remaining at the close of a fiscal year are comprised solely of student fees and charges.

6.      Budget Approvals – All institutional budgets are to be approved by the Board.

7.      Budget Transfers

a.    The chief executive officer of each institution is authorized to approve budget transfers and allocations, except those transfers that increase the current approved budget or the budget ceiling or those required by loan agreements and bond resolutions.  The exceptions shall be docketed by each institution for Board action, and such action shall be recorded in the Board minutes.

b.    The chief executive officer of each institution is authorized to approve supplemental budgets which are supported by gifts, grants, and service contracts. 

8.      Budget Ceilings

Regent institutions will docket for Board action proposed changes in budget ceilings for General Fund operations and will do so prior to institutional action modifying their obligations.   

9.      Comprehensive Fiscal Report

A report is to be prepared after the close of each fiscal year that compares actual revenues and expenditures with the Board-approved budget, including reallocations; and identifies significant variances and accomplishments.

B.     Collection of Delinquent Accounts

1.      Authority: Iowa Code §262.15 provides that the Board shall have charge of the foreclosure of all mortgages and of all collections from delinquent debtors to said institutions.  All actions shall be in the name of the Board of Regents, for the use and benefit of the appropriate institution.

2.      A collection policy shall be established at the Regent institutions to ensure responsible fiscal management of receivables.  The objectives of the collection policy are to combine both internal and external collection resources in a manner which will maximize collection experience. 

3.      External collection techniques shall allow the use of independent collection agencies selected through a competitive process. 

4.      To provide staff with an understanding of collection techniques and a well defined collections process to facilitate effective collection practices, the staff at the institutions will be made familiar with collection policies.

5.      Collection policies should be publicized so that obligation to pay and payment procedures are clearly understood.  Collection policies concerning students shall be displayed on or at, but not limited to, the following sources:

a.      Schedule of courses book

b.      Brochures to newly-admitted students

c.      Pamphlets for off-campus packets

d.      Points of sale

e.      Statements mailed each month to students

f.        Loan and note documents

g.      University catalog

h.      Internet web page

6.      Collection policies concerning general accounts should be displayed.  Electronic posting on an Internet web page is an acceptable option.

7.      The Regent institutions should remain in compliance with: state and federal laws regarding privacy and confidentiality.

8.      In addition to the aforementioned objectives, procedures and collection techniques, each Regent institution shall maintain its own more detailed written policies. 

9.      The Regent institutions are encouraged to participate in the state's offset program for collection purposes.

10.  The institutions shall handle their own uncollectible student loans with settlements carried out through statutory procedures.  Any changes in current or new policies are to be docketed by the chief business officer for Board action.

C.     Indirect Cost Rate

1.      The policy of the Board of Regents is to provide services to other state agencies based on contractual agreements that include clearly specified tasks related to the missions of the institutions and established payment for both direct and indirect costs. This policy is consistent with standard management practices and provides equitable support of programs conducted from all sources of funding by institutions under the jurisdiction of the Board of Regents.

2.      For federal programs, the provisions of Office of Management and Budget
(OMB) Circular A-21 will be followed.

D.     Accounting Issues

1.      The Board shall direct the expenditure of all appropriations made to the institutions and of any other moneys belonging thereto, but in no event shall the perpetual funds of the Iowa State University of Science and Technology, nor the permanent funds of the State University of Iowa derived under Acts of Congress, be diminished.  (Iowa Code §262.9(9))

2.      Iowa Code §262.23 requires a number of specific items for compliance by the treasurer of each Regent institution.  The Business Officer of each institution shall maintain accounting records and supporting documentation in accordance with accepted business standards for accountability and auditability and shall prepare reports as required, including an annual financial report.

3.      All appropriations made payable annually to each of the institutions under the control of the Board of Regents shall be paid in 12 equal monthly installments on the last day of each month on order of the Board.  (Iowa Code §262.28)

E.     Payroll Withholding

1.      Payroll withholding programs are permitted according to the following guidelines:

a.      Withholdings authorized by federal or state laws.

b.      Withholdings in connection with employee retirement and insurance plans approved by the Board of Regents.

c.      Withholdings authorized by individual employees for institution-wide contributive programs of direct benefit.

d.      Withholdings authorized by individual employees for United States savings bonds.

e.      Withholdings for amounts due the institution from and authorized by its employees.

f.        Withholdings for amounts authorized by individual employees for dues for the convenience of organizations which relate to employment conditions, such as union organizations or university-wide professional organizations.  Payroll withholding programs in this category shall not be initiated without 100 participants at Iowa State University and the State University of Iowa, 50 participants at the University of Northern Iowa, and 25 participants at Iowa School for the Deaf and Iowa Braille and Sight Saving School, unless justification exists for fewer participants; payroll programs in this category may be discontinued if the number of participants falls below 25. 

g.      Insurance deductions in accordance with 681 IAC 8.7.

2.      Each Regent institution shall require the employee or eligible organization to submit written authorization for payroll withholding for each withholding program, including the assent of the spouse of the employee, as required.

3.      The Business Officers are required to maintain such records as necessary for audit purposes.

F.      Reimbursement of Travel Expenses for Employees of Regent Institutions

1.      It is the intent of the Board of Regents that employees of Regent institutions be reimbursed for reasonable expenses associated with work-related travel.  

2.      It is the further intent of the Board that the Regent institutions adopt cost effective or as otherwise deemed appropriate institutional policies consistent with this statement, along with any other provisions relating to travel reimbursements which are more specific or restrictive.

3.      Some travel reimbursements may be taxable.  For example, any meal reimbursement not associated with overnight travel is taxable income which must be reported in the next pay period.  It is subject to federal and state income tax withholding and Social Security tax payments.  Travel advances must be substantiated in a timely fashion (generally within 90 days of completion of travel) or they will be reported as taxable income.

4.      Travel expense vouchers should be submitted promptly on return from the trip.  Employees will be reimbursed for transportation, lodging, and meals on the following basis:

a.      The use of state-owned vehicles is encouraged.  However, transportation reimbursement for official travel by private automobile when the use of a personal car is authorized by the appropriate institutional official shall be paid at no more than:

1)      At the standard mileage rate for business use as established by the U.S. Internal Revenue Service, for travel when a motor pool vehicle is not available and the employee must use his/her personal vehicle or an employee is traveling less than 100 miles round trip or when the travel is to/from local airports or when travel is to/from airports designated by each Regent institution and the lower airfare cost justifies use of a designated airport.

2)      At 50% of the rate in 1) above for travel if a motor pool vehicle is available, but the employee chooses to use his/her own vehicle.  The 50% is formula-based to promote optimal use of Regent owned vehicles.

3)      At a rate to be determined by the appropriate institutional official on a case-by-case basis when an individual must use a substantially modified or specially equipped privately owned vehicle. 

b.      Air or rail transportation should be by common carriers.  Use of university or chartered aircraft is permitted when advantageous.

c.      Each institution must develop clearly delineated travel policies for meals and incidentals. Such policies may be based on actual and reasonable costs for reimbursement, or on full or partial per diem rates, or on some combination of these. The maximum daily meal and incidental rates may not exceed the U.S. published per diem rates (General Services Administration for domestic rates, the Department of Defense for Hawaii, Alaska and other U.S. territories and possessions; and the State Department rates for foreign destinations).

d.      The individual amounts for each meal would apply only in the case of persons in travel mode for partial days.  Otherwise, the total amounts for each day would apply, thus allowing some discretion in adjusting meal allowances within the day.  In the case of a partial day, meal allowance will be distributed:

            Breakfast           20%
            Lunch                30%
            Dinner               50%

e.      Exceptions to these meal standards requested in advance of travel could be accommodated if justified to senior university officials (e.g., vice presidents, business officers, collegiate deans, and major directors of administrative units).  Exceptions not authorized in advance of travel may be considered by senior university officials only after careful review and consideration of any unanticipated costs incurred by the university traveler.

f.     Lodging reimbursement is limited to the actual/reasonable cost for a standard single room.  Lodging rates set by Federal regulations will be used as a guide.  This rate is reviewed and amended periodically.

5.      Reimbursement for Foreign Travel

a.      Meal and lodging policies and rates approved by the U.S. Department of State are to be followed unless university or granting agency regulations are more restrictive.  For partial days of travel, one-fourth of the rate for a full day will be reimbursed for each six-hour period or the fraction thereof that the employee is in travel status.

b.      The traveler may be reimbursed at more than the standard per diem if approved by authorized university officials.  The traveler must provide an explanation of the extenuating circumstances and original receipts supporting all lodging and meal expenditures.  Reimbursements in excess of the standard rates will not be approved if prohibited by granting agency regulations.

G.     Selection of Employees and Agents Utilized in the Issuance of Bonds or Notes
(Iowa Code §262.9(18) and 681 IAC 8.8)

1.      The IAC provides specific guidelines for the open selection process of financial advisors and bond counsel necessary to carry out the issuance of bonds or notes by the Board.  Agreements are to provide for annual renewals during a period not to exceed five years.

2.      Requests for proposals (RFP) for these services are to be brought before the Board.  These RFP’s will be sent to a list of candidate firms and any other firms the Board wishes to consider.

3.      Representatives of the Board Office and the universities will review the submissions received in response to each of the RFP’s, and recommend three or four finalist firms to be interviewed by a selection committee.  The selection committee will be comprised of representatives of the Board, the Board Office, and the universities.

4.      The Board will make the final selection of service providers.

H.     Awards to Private Agencies 

Iowa Code §11.36 allows the Auditor of State, at the request of the Board of Regents, to review working papers prepared by a certified public accountant covering the receipt and expenditure of state or federal funds provided by the Board of Regents to any other entity to determine if the receipt and expenditure of those funds by the entity is in substantial compliance with the laws, rules, regulations, and contractual agreements governing those funds.  If an entity has not been audited by a certified public accountant, the Auditor of State may, at the request of the Board of Regents, review the records covering the receipt and expenditure of state and federal funds to determine the same.

I.         Inventory 

1.      Pursuant to Iowa Code §7A.30, a written, detailed inventory is required to be maintained.  All equipment valued at $5,000 or more and held for one year or more shall be included in the institution's equipment inventory. 

2.      Surplus Property Disposal

a.      Regent institutions and the Board Office have established surplus property disposal procedures to insure items defined as surplus by departments are placed within the institution to the extent feasible.

b.      Items declared surplus and not placed within the institution or the Board Office may be disposed of in one or more of the following ways:

1)      Use as a trade in;

2)      Transfer to another Regent institution, state agency, or Iowa government entity;

3)      Sell to highest bidder after soliciting three or more bids;

4)      Auction to the highest bidder;

5)      Sell internally through surplus sales open to the public;

6)      Dismantle for parts utilization; or

7)      Dispose of in the best interest of the institution if de minimis residual value.

c.      See Chapter 9 of the Policy Manual for disposal, transfer, or sale of buildings.