Report 2016-130 Recommendation 22 Responses

Report 2016-130: The University of California Office of the President: It Failed to Disclose Tens of Millions in Surplus Funds, and Its Budget Practices Are Misleading (Release Date: April 2017)

Recommendation #22 To: University of California

To determine the amount of money that it can reallocate to campuses and to ensure that it publicly presents comprehensive and accurate budget information, by April 2019 the Office of the President should continue to present a comprehensive budget based on the presentation in Figure 11 to the regents, the Legislature, and the public.

Annual Follow-Up Agency Response From April 2019

UCOP continues to present comprehensive, simplified and transparent budget presentations to the UC Regents in May (proposed), March (mid-year) and November (post-year). The process and presentation have continued to be refined and improved upon over the past year. The process is documented in the UCOP Budget Manual which is posted online and publicly available, https://ucop.edu/ucop-budget/ucop-operating-budget-manual.pdf. UCOP also reviews and compares budget to actuals with variance explanations each quarter and prepares quarterly forecasts in the first, second and third quarters.

UCOP anticipates this recommendation to be fully implemented in the first week of May when the UCOP budget becomes publicly available on the UC Regents website.

  • Estimated Completion Date: May 2019

California State Auditor's Assessment of Annual Follow-Up Status: Partially Implemented

We rate this recommendation as partially implemented because, although the Office of the President's fiscal year 2019-20 budget largely incorporated our recommended budget presentation, the Office of the President did not complete this recommendation by April 2019 and needs to make additional improvements to the budget presentation. As we mention in recommendation 5, we continue to have serious concerns that the timing of the Office of the President's budget many hinder the Department of Finance, the Legislature, and the Governor when making decisions regarding UC's portion of the state budget.

We are also concerned that the Office of the President's budget does not recognize millions of dollars in beginning fund balances as available revenue. For example, one schedule in the Office of the President's budget forecasts $88 million in designated fund balances available for the 2019-20 fiscal year. However, the schedule in the budget summarizing revenue and expenditures only includes $3 million in designated fund balance revenue and therefore $85 million is not included as a potential source of funds.

The Office of the President also has almost $12 million in fund balances that is potentially available for reallocation to campuses for the benefit of students in fiscal year 2019-20. These funds are unrestricted, undesignated, and allocated for Office of the President purposes. Although $12 million could potentially be reallocated, the Office of the President is currently not recommending a reallocation of these funds stating it needs to assess the outcome of the state budget process and intends to review fiscal year-end balances before identifying reallocation opportunities. It plans to report updated numbers to the Regents in November 2019. Additionally, the amount potentially available for reallocation could be higher than the $12 million as the Office of the President and the Regents continue to evaluate their spending decisions related to the $85 million in unrestricted funds designated for certain purposes.

Furthermore, over $6.5 million from the Office of the President's reserves may also be available for reallocation because three reserves exceed the reserve target maximum established in the Office of the President's reserve guidelines. For example, the reserve for the housing loan program is $5.5 million higher than the target maximum. In fiscal year 2018-19, the Office of the President redistributed some of these funds to campuses for housing priorities and could potentially do so again. The UC national laboratories and the UC Washington Center also have over $1 million in reserves that exceed target maximums according to the Office of the President's new guidelines.

We do note that the Office of the President's fiscal year 2019-20 budget is more transparent because it is generally easier to understand. For example, the Office of the President's one page budget summary—based on the recommended budget presentation in our report—clearly summarizes its expenditures, reserves, and fund balances. In contrast to the fiscal year 2018-19 budget, the current budget includes summary line items that clearly display the Office of the President's total reserve and fund balance amounts.


1-Year Agency Response

Consistent with the update provided in recommendation 5, the Office of the President has incorporated CSA's recommended budget format for the FY2018-19 annual budget presentation and is charting a course for continuous improvement beyond this budget year.

  • Estimated Completion Date: April 2019
  • Response Date: April 2018

California State Auditor's Assessment of 1-Year Status: Pending

The status of this recommendation is pending the Office of the President's presentation of a comprehensive budget in April 2019.


6-Month Agency Response

Implementation of this recommendation will be dependent on actions taken in response to the April 2018 recommendations.

  • Estimated Completion Date: April 2019
  • Response Date: October 2017

California State Auditor's Assessment of 6-Month Status: Pending

The status of this recommendation is pending the Office of the President's adoption of our recommended budget format due April 2018.


60-Day Agency Response

Implementation of this recommendation is dependent on actions taken in response to the April 2018 recommendations.

The budget presentation work group plans to implement improved financial systems to better support on-going development and transparency of the budget presentation, and this requires replacement of the existing budget development system (BDS). Figure 11 will be used, among other best practices guidelines, to establish user requirements for a BDS system.

  • Estimated Completion Date: April 2019
  • Response Date: June 2017

California State Auditor's Assessment of 60-Day Status: Pending

The status of this recommendation is pending the Office of the President's adoption of our recommended budget format due April 2018.


All Recommendations in 2016-130

Agency responses received are posted verbatim.