Cover Photo Image

The “Bird’s Eye” View

To get a sense of the university’s budget process writ large (that is, the types of budgets, sources of funds, and the role of the Office of Budget Management), you can review this 25-slide PDF of the Budget Development Process:

In this PDF slide presentation, two budget processes are of particular interest to Academic Unit Heads: the Budget Initiative Form and the Cost-to-Continue Request. Both have been moved to an online format and the links for the upcoming fiscal year can be found at the following link:

Budget Initiatives: These are also labeled as E&G (“Educational and General Programs”) Initiative Forms and are usually due to the Dean by late fall, very early spring. These requests are used to present unit requests for new funding associated with expansion of existing programs, the development of new programs and programming costs associated with opening new facilities.

Cost-to-Continue Requests: These request forms are usually due to the Dean by late fall, very early spring. They are used to present unit requests for additional, new funding associated with cost increases in current programs, rather than funding associated with new programming as is the case with Budget Initiatives. These requests can be for a “one time” increase or for an “ongoing” funding need.

It is important to note that all Budget Initiatives and Cost-to-Continue requests must be connected to a Unit Objective (as listed in the JMU-STAR tool) and to a University Core Quality.

The AUH View

Your day-to-day view of the budget process is much more down to earth. The single most important thing you should know about your operating budget is that there are rules, policies (university, state and federal), paperwork and approvals that accompany the spending of state funds. The good news is that you likely have an expert on these matters on your administrative team (either your Administrative Assistant or a Fiscal Technician). If you are new to this role (and even if you aren’t), you should sit down with your designated resource person and get a sense of the landscape. It is likely that your Administrative Assistant or Fiscal Technician is responsible for running the mandatory budget reports each month (and filing them in case of audit), so it is important that you meet to discuss the kinds of information that would be most valuable to you on a monthly basis.

But here’s what you need to remember: Before you promise/spend operating budget funds, check with your fiscal person to see what rules apply and what paperwork must be submitted. This will save you much time and frustration.

The state has rules that apply to all spending or reimbursement for any kind of item – be it international or domestic travel approvals (which, as of July 2017, were moved to an electronic management system called Chrome River and require pre- approvals) – ordering food/catering (which must go through Aramark, pending special approval), moving expenses for new faculty (there’s a whole set of policies and procedures for this one!), buying an office chair or other furniture (must be purchased through Virginia Correctional Enterprise, unless you receive special approval), ordering office supplies (has to be an approved vendor), supporting projects/events, and knowing spending limits (anything over $4,999 has to be approved through procurement, whether it is a service or an item).

As you can see, any time you are spending money or thinking about spending money, there is likely a policy, rule, paperwork and/or approval you need to consider.

Part-Time Faculty Funding Request

Requests for part-time faculty happen in the late summer (before fall semester). If your department has part-time/adjunct faculty, check with your Dean about procedures for requesting. Often the request forms come directly from the Dean’s office.

Summer School

Funding for Summer School classes comes from summer school tuition. Summer tuition covers faculty salaries, operating budget support and university overhead. In the spring each year, you will receive guidance from the Provost’s Office regarding salaries and course make-numbers. Salaries are set based on average college-level salaries by rank. A “make-number” is the minimum enrollment required for a faculty member to receive full pay for a course. It is important to note that a make-number is not an enrollment cap. Courses are expected to have an enrollment capacity similar to their normal semester enrollment. Options to prorate a faculty member’s pay for a course that does not meet the make-number are at the discretion of the dean in consultation with you. Your dean will also give you guidance on offering courses as contingency versus guaranteed.

Finance Office

The Finance Office oversees a number of areas that you will come into contact with as an AUH. For an overview of these areas, see the following link:

Your Administrative Assistant will likely be your point of contact for these areas, but contact information for some of the key areas is provided below:

  • Accounts Payable: (deals with vendor payments/disbursements; travel guidelines and procedures; local funds disbursements and individual reimbursements)

Information About Travel Guidelines and Procedures:
There are extensive guidelines that govern travel, particularly International travel. Your Administrative Assistant should be aware of the most current version of these guidelines.

Accounts Payable has a webpage devoted to guidance about travel and the use of travel (credit) cards:

See also Policy 4215 – Travel; in the Finance Procedures Manual:

Accounts Payable Contact Information:

Main phone: 568-7397
Departmental Email:
Tina Wells, Manager (568-6231);

  • Department Small Purchase Charge Card (SPCC) Program

The Small Purchase Charge Card (SPCC) offers departments an alternate payment method when making small ($4,999 or less) purchases. Departments must retain all SPCC records for three (3) years plus the current fiscal year for auditing by the Cash & Investments Office. Information about the SPCC program can be found at the following link:

Cardholder Contact Information:

SPCC Program Administrator: 568-7396 or 568-6888

Equipment Trust Fund (ETF)

The Equipment Trust Fund Program, administered by SCHEV, provides an additional funding source that allows higher education institutions to purchase equipment. Equipment purchased with Trust Fund monies is not owned by the University but is tied to leasing agreements with the Virginia College Building Authority (VCBA). There are specific guidelines that apply to the acquisition, maintenance and disposal of ETF equipment; failure to satisfy these requirements can jeopardize future allocations of ETF monies. Check with your Administrative Assistant or Fiscal Technician to see who is currently overseeing ETF equipment. You can also talk with your Dean about how to request (additional) funds and about rules for expending funds.

For detailed information about the ETF process, see the following link:

Office of Research and Scholarship

The Office of Research and Scholarship spearheads university-wide strategic initiatives, facilitates externally sponsored research, service and scholarship activities, and enables investigators to connect with industry while protecting Intellectual Property. An overview of the work of this office can be found at the following link:

What follows here is a list of important initiatives and offices that are housed in this office.

The Grants Resource Center (GRC): The Office of Research & Scholarship has a subscription to the Grants Resource Center (GRC), a unit of the American Association of State Colleges and Universities (AASCU). This subscription provides JMU faculty and staff with access to a comprehensive suite of tools, services and expertise to increase JMU’s success in securing competitive grants from federal and private sponsors. Please contact Ben Delp, Director of Research Development and Promotion, at ( for login access.

The Office of Research Integrity (ORI): The Office of Research Integrity promotes a culture of compliance, research integrity and high-quality research within the University community. This office houses the Institutional Review Board (IRB), which oversees all research involving human subjects conducted or supported through JMU research activities. For more information about the IRB, see the following link:

JMU Research Policies: There are a number of JMU Research Policies that may be applicable to your work as an AUH and/or the work of your Unit.

What follows is a list of the policies:

  • Policy 1104 - The Institutional Review Board on the Use of Human Subjects in Research
  • Policy 1106 - Conflict of Interest
  • Policy 1107 - Intellectual Property
  • Policy 1109 - Records Management
  • Policy 2201 - Sponsored Programs Proposals: Pre-Award and Post-Award Procedures
  • Policy 2202 - Care and Use of Laboratory Animals
  • Policy 2203 - Financial Conflict of Interest
  • Policy 2204 - Institutional Biosafety
  • Policy 2205 - Misconduct in Research and Other Scholarly Work
  • Policy 3108 - Health and Safety

Links to each of these policies can be found here:

JMU Foundation

Separate from your operating budget, your department may have financial resources at the JMU Foundation (through a Foundation account). If you do, you will receive monthly reports about the balance and variety of funds available (such as general fund accounts or endowments). These funds can do a number of great things for your department. They can provide scholarships, support student travel, fund retreats, and help to bolster the work of your department and its people in ways that operating budgets can’t. There is an approval process for accessing and spending these funds, so you will want to check with your Administrative Assistant or Fiscal Technician about the forms and approvals needed.

There is also an expected practice of responding to donations (as the foundation reports do provide contact information for any donors who have made a gift to your department). Check with your Administrative Assistant to see if there is a sample letter on file; if not, you’ll want to develop one so you can send timely acknowledgements.

For more information about the JMU Foundation, see the following link:

To access a variety of useful foundation forms and policies and procedures, follow this link:

Below is a quick index of what’s available at this link.

Foundation Forms:

  • Business Expense Reimbursement Form
  • Foundation Payment Voucher Form
  • Scholarship Nomination Form
  • Gift in Kind Agreement

Foundation Policies and Procedures:

  • Accounting
    • Disbursement of Operating Funds
    • Approval of Athletic Expenditures
    • Departmental Scholarship Policy
  • Licensing
    • Use of JMU Trademarks, Logos, Seals, Indicia and Mascot
  • Development
    • Guidelines for Accepting Gifts of Real Estate
    • Matching Gift Policy
    • Guidelines for Accepting Gifts of Private Stock
    • Gifts of Stock: A Guide for Donors
  • University Support
    • Employee Business Expense Allowance
    • Use of Automobiles Titled to JMU Foundation

Back to Top