CU efficiencies saved nearly $40 million last year

Technology, legislation among factors contributing to cost cutting

The University of Colorado is succeeding in its mission to find and enact efficiencies at every level of operation to benefit students, faculty, staff and the system as a whole. CU efficiencies in FY 2014-15 alone totaled nearly $40 million across the system, Todd Saliman, vice president for budget and finance, reported to the CU Board of Regents at its Nov. 5 meeting.

Highlights include:

  • A student textbook rental program, saving CU-Boulder students nearly $4 million; and a mobile application allowing students to change schedules or check grades at the Colorado Springs campus.
  • Employee savings such as a new retirement vendor platform that will reduce participation fees by as much as $4.5 million; and health, life and dental premiums that are consistently below the national average.
  • Campus savings such as multiple energy efficiency efforts resulting in savings more than $2 million at CU Denver I Anschutz this year.
  • Systemwide collaborations on technology that have resulted in more than $1 million of savings in the first year of implementation.

Saliman told the board some of the most boring endeavors led to substantial savings. For instance, through the efforts of several staff, legislation was passed and went into effect on July 1, 2015, that allowed all electrical and plumbing inspections to be performed by CU Denver’s Building Department, providing better and timelier service. The projected annual savings/cost avoidance is $344,000.

“By moving plumbing inspections into the university so we can do this for ourselves, CU Denver | Anschutz is saving almost 350K just because of that one bill,” he said. “And that’s money they’re going to save every year.”

The Office of Budget and Finance compiled the annual overview of savings for the past fiscal year at the request of the Board of Regents. Because it is the first year, the office can’t compare the savings to past fiscal years, but will be able to report on trends in the coming years, Saliman said.

“Some years will be more, some will be less,” Saliman said. “We’ll be able to track it over time and be able to compare.”

View the presentation.

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