Instructions for Preparing a FLP Budget

The budget worksheet must include all items that are part of the total program cost. This cost is comprised of three components: the tuition fee, the administrative fee, and the program fee. When developing a budget, make sure to address the following:

  1. Tuition Fees—Tuition for all FLPs is $250 per unit.
  2. Administrative Fee—A flat $200 charge per student
  3. Faculty Salary—FLPs are 100% self-supporting; faculty salaries are paid through the tuition dollars generated by the program. Faculty salaries are based on the CSU Salary Schedule Class Code 2322 (pdf), “Instructional Faculty, Special Programs”. Consult this salary schedule to determine the rate per unit based on the number of students you plan to enroll.
  4. Minimum Enrollment—Enter the minimum number of students you are expecting to enroll in the program. This is an important item because the rest of the calculations will be based on this number. For first time programs or those with limited audiences, it is better to use a lower minimum, such as around 12 students. For popular established programs this minimum can vary significantly. By budgeting for a lower enrollment, you are protecting the program and yourself by ensuring you meet the minimum number of students required to break even, however, this increases the cost per student. Be careful of setting the enrollment too high, however, because unless this target enrollment is met, the program will already be in debt before the program begins. If a budget is based on a low enrollment, such as around 12, but more students end up applying, such as around 18, the budget can be adjusted later to reflect a more accurate cost per student. It is always better to use a more conservative enrollment number to make sure the program can still run with fewer students rather than not run at all.
  5. Student Expenses—These include housing, excursions, classroom space rentals, in-country transportation, class materials, excursions, museum entry, event tickets, etc. Meals can be included here if the faculty leader wishes to make that part of the required cost for the program. If using a provider for these services, the provider fee per student can be listed here. Student health insurance has already been arranged with a vendor for a group rate. The cost is $50 per student and this expense cannot be deleted or altered. Students are welcome to purchase additional travel/health insurance but it may NOT take the place of this policy.
    Please note: It is up to the faculty leader to decide if he or she would like to make group airfare to the country part of the mandatory program fee or not. Unless there is a significant discount or other reason for doing so, we recommend that students handle their own airfare separately and are then responsible for arriving at the program location by the specified date. This means less responsibility for the faculty member, but also allows the students the flexibility to use their preferred airlines, frequent flyer miles, or travel while abroad before or after the program dates.
  6. Faculty Expenses—These include housing, in-country transportation, per diem (please use an appropriate estimate for the country of the program or the university rate of $57 per day), airfare (economy class ticket only), pre-established insurance (at the same rate of $50) and incidentals. Student-generated fees will pay for these faculty expenses.
    Programs that have more than 20 participants may require a faculty assistant. Faculty assistants are SJSU employees or graduate assistants and are not compensated above the cost of travel, accommodations, and per diem expenses. If a faculty assistant is required you must add this to the budget worksheet.
  7. Other Expenses—These include any other costs incurred during the program such as administrative expenses or emergency funds. These will cover everything you need to prepare for your program including marketing costs, photocopying, postage, international phone calls and faxes, supplies, etc. We recommend that you keep your marketing expenses to a minimum.
    Oftentimes you will need to check the exchange rate of the country you are traveling to. Currency converters can be found at USForex Foreign Exchange and XE. Based on the exchange rate, enter your expenses in US dollars for foreign costs. As exchange rates fluctuate, you will need to revise your budget to reflect these changes before you depart.

After all of the required information is entered in the form, the excel worksheet will automatically calculate the total program cost as well as the cost per student. Make sure to double check your fields to ensure an accurate figure.

Balancing the Budget

It is important to plan for and maintain a balanced budget for your Faculty-Led Program. One of the decisive elements for doing so is correctly estimating how many students you will have participating in your program. Typically first time programs are more difficult to recruit students for than programs that have run before. The logic is simple; having former students talking about their amazing experiences is a very strong recruitment tool for subsequent years, one which new programs do not have. Of course, there may be a slight fluctuation in the student enrollment numbers from what the faculty member has estimated resulting in either a budget surplus or a deficit.

What to do in the event of a deficit

In the case of a deficit the options are: 1) to modify the program so that the new student enrollment figures will allow the budget to be balanced. So for example, deleting an excursion or having students pay for an excursion out-of-pocket or cutting back on expenses for planned receptions are ways that the budget could be revised. The important thing is to make sure that the end cost to the student does not change and that you do not run the program at a deficit. 2) if the discrepancy between the anticipated student enrollment figures and actual student enrollment figures is too great, the program may need to be cancelled.

 What to do in the event of a surplus

For faculty members who have underestimated student enrollment figures, this typically results in a surplus (which is also not recommended). One possible solution to getting back to a balanced budget when too many students have signed up for your program is to lower the cost to students. This must be done before students pay for the course however.

Surplus program fee funds may be used to take students to cultural events or host receptions for them for example.  Surpluses should be spent on the group of students who have contributed to the surplus and are available for specific program use only. The surplus funds are ideally used for a post trip reception, or an added excursion / event during the trip to benefit the students who paid those fees.  If that is not possible, the surplus may also be used to offset the program fee for a future group of students. It is not advisable to use a "program fee surplus" collected from students towards additional faculty/ staff travel.  CIES has a fiduciary responsibility to ensure compliance and that the funds are "held" in the FLP account and not transferred to other university funds/accounts. 


Strategies to Lower the Costs per Student

  • Recruit more students.
  • If the program will take place in a country with a lower cost of living and you will not need the normal per diem, use a lower per diem amount.
  • Reduce or eliminate unnecessary excursions or other expensive items that may be included in the itinerary.
  • Work with a partner/host institution to see if they can house the group on their campus for free or at a reduced rate.
  • Stay in youth hostels instead of hotels.
  • Find more cost effective alternatives for marketing the program.
  • See if your college or department will provide scholarships.
  • Start fundraising!

Tracking Expenses and Reconciliation

Faculty leaders will need to document every expense so that the program’s accounts can be reconciled upon return. Create an expense journal and keep all receipts. Upon return, faculty will work directly with CIES Finance to reconcile expenses in association with SJSU Procurement Services policies and guidelines.

CIES is not responsible for program deficits arising from over-expenditures.