GFOA has developed a series of Best Practices in Community College (College) Budgeting, which clearly outline steps to developing a budget that best aligns resources with student achievement goals. This document summarizes the key themes from those Best Practices, including corresponding links to the actual Best Practice, all of which are available at www.gfoa.org.
The budgeting process advocated for by the Best Practices in Community College Budgeting is focused on optimizing student achievement within available resources. It encompasses a complete cycle for long-term financial planning and budgeting, including planning the budget process, developing a budget, evaluating how the budget process worked and adjusting accordingly. Throughout this cycle, the community college’s institutional goals serve as the overarching guide for decision-making and resource allocation.
GFOA recommends that all community colleges go through the following steps as part of their planning and budgeting process.
Step 1. Prepare and Develop Inputs to the Budgeting Process. The planning and budgeting process begins with establishing principles and policies to guide the budget process and gaining a better understanding of the forces that shape the budget.
Step 2. Define Goals and Identify Gaps. Well-developed goals are vital to the budget process and should be coupled with a gap analysis of current state academic achievement.
Step 3. Develop Strategies to Close the Gaps. Strategies should be adopted and implemented to achieve goals by closing identified gaps.
Step 4. Prioritize Spending to Enact Strategies and Allocate Resources. A well-crafted budget document results from prioritization and allocation of expenditures that align with the college’s goals.
Step 5. Check Performance. Performance should be regularly checked to see if progress towards goals is being made.
A. Monitor and evaluate outcomes from budgeting decisions. Establish a system to regularly check progress of budgeted priorities and make adjustments as necessary.
Step 6. Enhanced Budgeting Practices. Defining roles, measures of success and allocation methodologies increases transparency and accountability in the budget process.