Clemson University has launched a "spending transparency" website on which every expense paid by the school from July 1, 2010, through the end of November—some 85,000 transactions in all—is available for public viewing. The areas covered include Auxiliary Funds generated by self-supporting activities such as Athletics, Housing, Dining Services, the Bookstore and Parking Services.
“This new site represents Clemson’s commitment to greater accountability and transparency to students, parents, taxpayers and donors who contribute resources that support teaching, research and public service,” says CFO Brett Dalton. “We will continue to update and improve the website based on feedback from users. Our first effort is focused on transparency, with expected improvements regarding usability and clarity to come in future months.”
The website, http://transpend.clemson.edu, also includes information about sources of funding and explanations of cost categories. It will be updated as books for each month are closed.
“We hope that adding this level of detail and explanation provides context for expenses and helps constituents better understand Clemson’s complex budget and funding environment,” Dalton says.
From a state budgeting standpoint, Clemson is considered two separate state agencies: a research university that receives an educational and general (E&G) state appropriation for teaching and student support, and a land-grant Public Services Activities (PSA) division that receives a state appropriation to support agriculture, forestry and natural resource Extension, research and regulatory programs.
The university also has auxiliary operations, such as athletics, student housing and dining services, which receive no state funding and must generate all of their own revenue. Clemson has numerous sources of revenue – some unrestricted and some legally or internally designated for specific purposes. The website includes expenses for all funding sources, not just state appropriations.