Lafayette College operates on a fiscal year that begins July 1 and ends June 30 of the following calendar year.  Department Heads participate in two forms of budget planning:  preparation of the following year’s budget request in the fall and salary recommendations for the upcoming year in the spring.

Budget preparation normally begins early in the fall semester.  Department Heads are notified by the Provost’s Office of planned expenditure levels for the next academic year and are provided with instructions and materials for the preparation of the budget request.  Planning the budget request requires detailed review of prior year expenses and consultation with faculty members and support staff.  In addition to each department’s non-restricted account, some departments also have restricted accounts for gifts, grants, and endowment income.

In preparing the budget request, Department Heads should estimate as realistically as possible the amounts needed for each category of expense (each category of expense is identified by a separate account classification code).  Budget information for previous years provides perspective but Department Heads also have the ability to propose re-allocation of their departmental budget dollars for the upcoming fiscal year.

To request operational funds above and beyond what has been approved for the department in order to invest in new programs or significant program enhancements, the Operating Budget Request for Increase Form must be completed.  All Operating Budget Request for Increase Forms submitted must indicate if it is a one-time request (the incremental funding is being requested for one fiscal year only after which the department’s operating budget will revert to what it would have been without the special request) or a continuing request (the incremental funding is being requested for multiple years).

During the fall semester, Department Heads should also identify planned capital requests.  There are two types of capital requests, capital project requests and capital expense requests.  These types of requests are defined below:

A capital project is defined as:

  • any expenditure in excess of $5,000 for any improvement or renovation to any facility;
  • the purchase of any furnishings for any facility; or,
  • an expenditure that necessarily has tangential needs or adjacencies that require the support of Plant Operations or the Facilities Planning Department.

A capital expense is defined as:

  • other assets/equipment of $5,000 or more.

Capital project requests require completion of a capital project request form.  Capital expense requests require completion of a capital equipment purchase request form.  The need for capital projects or capital expenses must be justified fully, even if the funds are available within your allocated budget.  Equipment requests must include estimates of installation and future maintenance costs.

Preparation of the College budget continues through several stages, culminating in final review and approval by the Board of Trustees typically at its March meeting.  Department Heads will typically receive notice from the Provost’s Office of their approved departmental budgets for the academic year at the start of the fall semester.