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CU Denver Strategic Priority 5:

Financial Sustainability

Strategic Priorities - Financial Sustainability

Achieve long-term financial stability and sustainability.

Jennifer Sobanet, CFO and Vice Chancellor for Administration and Finance

Selected Initiatives
(updated June 2018):

  • CU Denver leadership is exploring various funding opportunities, including public/private partnerships, to help us bring the 2017 CU Denver Facilities Master Plan to life. In Spring 2018, CU Denver engaged a real estate advisory and management firm to explore options to leverage existing real estate assets to realize master plan priorities, including building a new, first-year residence hall and dining facility.
    • The Budget Model Redesign Steering Committee worked from November 2016 to October 2017 on developing a new incentive-based budget model for CU Denver.
    • The new, incentive-based model, approved in October 2017 for implementation in FY2018-19, allows CU Denver to focus on three areas: growing revenue, containing costs, and reallocating resources to our highest priorities.

  • By foregrounding transparency, adopting incentives—for undergraduate and graduate enrollment growth, retention and persistence of students, research, fundraising, and development of market-driven programs—and specifying a collaborative planning and budgeting process, this new model lays the groundwork for sustainable success at CU Denver.

  • The Chancellor’s Advisory Committee on Budget convened in November 2017 and met monthly throughout the 2017-18 year as a key player in the new integrated planning and budgeting process, which aligns the budget with university priorities. Membership in the committee includes the chancellor’s cabinet, the deans, the Faculty Assembly Chair, Budget Priorities Committee Chair, Staff Council Chair and SGA President, among others.

  • The Lynx Up fundraising initiative for student scholarships launched in February 2018, raising more than $8.5 million in its first three months.

  • Expanded summer courses, executive education, online education, and offerings at CU South Denver are greatly diversifying revenue streams. 
    • The Advance Grant Program, a form of institutional financial aid, increased Summer 2017 enrollment by 8 percent from the previous year. The program offers students with a high number of credits the chance to rise from sophomores to juniors, or juniors to seniors, by taking summer courses.
    • A task force was formed in fall 2017 to develop an updated set of guidelines on executive education, with a focus on removing unnecessary barriers to growth for these programs. In the May 2018 Denver Deans meeting, the provost and deans agreed on new guidelines, to be distributed in Summer 2018.
    • The Office of Digital Education, created in January 2018, is working with each of the schools and colleges to expand our fully online and blended offerings. These efforts will accelerate pathways to graduation for our students and reach new populations of working adults across Colorado. These expanded delivery modes will increase CU Denver's revenue streams even as they help the university to serve the needs of an increasingly diverse student body. Previously housed under the Office of Information Technology, CU Online is now housed under the Office of Digital Education.
    • CU South Denver completed its first comprehensive strategic planning process in spring 2018. The process crystallized the vital role CU South Denver will play in providing professional development, executive education and graduate programs to meet the demands of the fast-growing south metro market.

  • Numerous efforts are underway to improve enrollment yield:
    • Beginning in fall 2017, undergraduate admissions counselors have focused their recruiting and retention efforts, using targeted communications to students who have left applications incomplete, and calling campaigns to admitted students.
    • New admissions and communications software is being implemented to ease the application process and enhance personalized communication with prospective and current graduate students.

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