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ctcLink Accounting Manual | 20.10.50 Allocations to Districts

20.10.50 Allocations to Districts

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The State Board for Community and Technical Colleges is authorized (Chapter 28B. 50.090 RCW) to receive and disburse funds for the maintenance, operation and capital support of the college districts and to establish guidelines for fund distribution. The statute directs allocations to be made at the district level, not by college.

Funds are appropriated to the State Board by the Legislature. The State Board then allocates funding to the college districts.

An allocation model, based on policies adopted by the State Board, calculates the share of funds each district will receive. Using information from the model, an allocation schedule is then released with each district’s authorized spending level by appropriation index.

Historically, the State Board has encouraged college presidents and business officers to participate in the development and review of the allocation process and methods.

Workgroups with broad system representation study the financial needs, challenges and opportunities of various policies and methods.

Since the establishment of the college system, several allocation methods have been adopted, reviewed, frozen and revised in response to changes in the state budget and evolution of the college system.

After a multi-year process examining best practices in higher education budget policy across the country, the State Board adopted a new allocation model in 2016.

Key features of the model include:

  • District enrollment targets based on three-year average state enrollments. College enrollment targets are adjusted only when some or all colleges exceed their target.
  • Five percent of the state operating appropriation is dedicated to performance funding, as defined by the Student Achievement Initiative.
  • A Minimum Operating Allocation to each college.
  • Added incentive (weighting) for priority enrollments such as, Basic Education for Adults, upper division Applied Baccalaureate, STEM and skills gap courses.

Terms associated with this allocation methodology are defined as follows:

Allocation Model

The primary mechanism through which most State appropriations are distributed to college districts for operations. The allocation model is governed by State Board policy. As adopted by the State Board in 2016, there are four distinct components to the distribution.

  1. Minimum Operating Allocation (MOA): Minimum amount for operations include, $2. 85 million per campus. Of the $97 million in total MOA funding, $85. 5 million is from the operating budget. An additional $11. 4 million is provided in the capital budget for maintenance and operations.
  2. Performance Funding / Student Achievement Initiative (SAI): Five percent of the annual state operating appropriation is distributed under the metrics of the Student Achievement Initiative.
  3. District Enrollment Target / District Enrollment Allocation Base (DEAB): Provides base funding and an annual enrollment target based on a rolling, 3-year average of past state enrollments. Typically, this base funding represents 40-45 percent of the annual state appropriation.
  4. Weighted or Priority Enrollments: Four enrollment categories receive an additional weight of . 3 per FTE. Those include:
      1. Adult Basic Education
      2. STEM
      3. Upper-level BAS
      4. Skills Gap
Additional information on the formulas and college-level enrollment reports used in the model are available from the Operating Budget Team at SBCTC.

Safe Harbor

A term to describe any state funds not distributed through the allocation model. Includes both provisos of the Legislature and earmarks of the State Board.


Funds held outside the model for particular purposes as designed by the Legislature in the enacted budget bill. Budget provisos are only in law during the period of the budget, but can be repeated in future budgets. Funds no longer “provisoed” by the Legislature may become earmarks of the State Board or they may be distributed through the model. This is determined by the State Board on a case-by-case basis depending on the nature and purpose of the funding.


Funds held outside the model based on State Board policy. Earmarks of the State Board fall into two general categories:

  1. Those held in safe harbor/outside the model for four years. This includes budgeted annual increases in compensation (wages, health benefits, and pension), maintenance and operations, leases and local assessments. After the increases for a particular year have been held outside the model for four years, the funding is distributed through the allocation model.
  2. Program or population specific funds designated for specific purposes. One example is Opportunity Grant funding, distributed based on college need and recommendations of program staff.

Allocation Schedule

Authorization from the State Board for districts to incur routine operating expenditures and some specific expenditures up to a specified amount.

State Board staff release most of the annual funding in the initial allocation schedule, usually in late June or early July, depending on the date the Legislature and Governor enact the budget. Subsequent allocation schedules are released as needed with additional or reallocated expenditure authority.

Capital Allocation Schedule

A separate allocation schedule for capital funds is prepared by the Capital Budget team. See CLAM 30.10-70 Capital Budget and Accounting.

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Last Modified: 3/16/23, 4:36 PM

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