Community College Budget Resources


GFOA worked with practitioners, researchers, and other education finance experts to identify best practices in community college budgeting. These best practices aim to leverage the budget process to align resources to student outcomes. 

Best Practices

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.

Step 6. Enhanced Budgeting Practices. Defining roles, measures of success and allocation methodologies increases transparency and accountability in the budget process.


Award for Best Practices in Community College Budgeting.

GFOA developed award criteria for the Best Practices in Community College Budgeting that will allow community colleges to demonstrate process excellence and receive the recognition they deserve. Based on the lessons learned from the community colleges that piloted the process, GFOA finalized and developed the criteria, incorporating them into the Award for Best Practices in Community College program. Submission to the new award programs will be available for budgets with fiscal years beginning in calendar year 2017.

For additional information or questions on the project, please contact Matt Bubness, Senior Manager.