Nov 03, 2017
Humboldt State’s budget information is now easier to access and understand, thanks to a new online tool introduced recently by the University’s Budget Office.
OpenBook provides the campus community and the public with interactive dashboards that show a breakdown of the University’s budgeted revenues and expenditures.
At the HSU OpenBook website, you can view a five-year history of Operating Fund budget information and three years of all-funds budget information. The dashboard allows you to view budget information in different ways and drill down for further detail, organizing data by types of spending, spending by organizational structure, and spending by purpose. Visual elements—like hovering over data to see dollar values and percentages—make the information more quickly understandable.
“OpenBook is an important step in making our budget more transparent and I am optimistic that greater visibility will help us build a shared understanding about our budgeted revenues and expenditures, and ultimately help us improve our budgeting in the future,” says University Budget Director Amber Blakeslee.
A few important concepts to understand when looking at the data include:
• The dashboards only include budget information, not actual revenue collected and expenditures made
• Operating Fund: often referred to as General Fund, is the University’s main operating fund for state-supported instruction
• All Funds: reflects all operating budget activity on campus, inclusive of self-support entities (Housing, Parking, and others) and auxiliary organizations (Sponsored Programs Foundation, Advancement Foundation, etc.)
• Revenue Budget: the University’s anticipated sources of funding (state appropriation, tuition, etc.)
• Expenditure Budget: the University’s resource allocation plan by area of responsibility. For the Operating Fund, the Expenditure Budget grants authority to spend.
The University Budget Office will continue to build out OpenBook, adding information and resources. Potential options include dashboards on personnel, student fees, and capital budgets. Blakeslee says these options may evolve as they gather more feedback regarding what the campus community finds most valuable.
“I encourage everyone to explore the tool and please reach out to me if you have any questions or comments,” Blakeslee says. “While the dashboards won’t answer every question about the budget, they are already broadening awareness and fostering dialogue.”
This story originally ran on Oct. 31, 2017