3.0 Fiscal Responsibility

3.0 Fiscal Responsibility

3.01 College Budget Process and Fiscal Accountability

3.01 College Budget Process and Fiscal Accountability

Title: College Budget Process and Fiscal Accountability
Number: BP 3.01
Adopted: November 1988
Reviewed: September 2020
Revised: September 2015

The Nicolet Area Technical College District Board of Trustees (Board) shall be fiscally accountable.  Fiscal accountability will be demonstrated through fiscal responsibility, the annual budget, sound business practices, and an annual audit.

Fiscal Responsibility

The Board’s Treasurer is responsible for the receipt of all public funds of the District and shall be accountable for such action in accordance with applicable statutes.  The Board delegates the operational procedures relating to the fiscal operations of the District to the President or his/her designee.

The Board shall approve an annual budget at the June meeting which reflects sound cash-flow management and shall attempt to reduce the need for short-term borrowing by maintaining fund balance designated for operations at approximately 25 percent of budgeted general and special revenue fund expenses.

The Board shall approve gifts or grants that obligate the College to make future expenditures of funds or human resources beyond conditions outlined by the gift or grant.

Annual Budget

The District shall prepare an annual budget document in accordance with legal requirements, deadlines and the uniform budget document format specified in the Wisconsin Technical College System (WTCS) Financial Accounting Manual.

The budget shall be developed by soliciting information from various levels of the organization and shall accurately reflect projections of income and expenses, including a capital budget that meets the capital needs of the District.  Prior to adoption of the budget, the District shall hold a public hearing to solicit public input on the proposed budget. The public hearing shall be advertised through a Class 1 Legal Notice.  The President shall recommend an annual budget to the Board at the June meeting, and shall submit an approved copy of the annual budget document to the WTCS Board by July 1.

Subsequent budget modifications require Board approval and shall be implemented in accordance with appropriate statutes, rules, and regulations.

The District Board shall set and approve annual mill rates for operational and debt service tax levies during the October Board meeting.

Sound Business Practices

Sound business practices will be adhered to by the District. Such practices shall include, but shall not be limited to:

  1. All District financial activity shall be accounted for through one accounting system to enhance internal controls.
  2. District financial records shall be maintained on the budgetary basis of governmental accounting, as required and detailed in the Wisconsin Technical College System Financial Accounting Manual. The District will adhere to governmental generally accepted accounting principles, as codified in the Codification of Governmental Accounting and Financial Reporting Standards (published by the Government Accounting Standards Board), unless specifically required to deviate from those standards per regulatory pronouncements by the Wisconsin Technical College System Board.
  3. Internal control procedures shall include cost-effective measures to protect the assets of the District.
  4. The cash and investments of the District’s funds shall be pooled and managed together. Cash accounts of the District in excess of FDIC limitations shall be collateralized whenever possible. Cash in excess of immediate District operating needs shall be invested. Investment decisions of the District shall be determined by maximization of earnings and security of principal. The local Government Investment Pool of the State of Wisconsin will be one such means of investment.
  5. Fixed asset records will be maintained by the District, and periodic inventories will be conducted.
  6. Capital equipment will be purchased through the capital projects fund of the District, except enterprise or agency funds.
  7. Enterprise fund managers shall update their budget plans annually.  The budget plan shall include an assessment of adequate fund balance requirements.  The funds shall strive to operate at a profit sufficient to return funds to the general fund of the college.
  8. A monthly financial report summary shall be prepared and submitted to the District Board.  A check register showing all checks over $2,500 printed for the month shall be presented to the Board Treasurer.
  9. The President will inform the Board Chair immediately of any suspected incidents of misappropriation of funds.  The District policy is to fully cooperate with appropriate legal authorities and violations of the law may be prosecuted.
  10. District assets and resources may not be used for personal benefit. 

Annual Audit

The Board shall establish the period from July 1st through June 30th as its fiscal year.

An annual audit of all District funds shall be completed by an independent certified public accounting firm for each fiscal year.  The audit report shall be submitted to WTCS within six (6) months following the end of the fiscal year.  The goal of the audit will be the expression of a clean (unqualified) opinion.

The District’s auditing services will be competitively bid at least every five years.

3.02 Cash and Investment Account Management

3.02 Cash and Investment Account Management

Title: Cash and Investment Account Management
Number: BP 3.02
Adopted: November 1988
Reviewed: September 2020
Revised September 2015

The Nicolet Area Technical College District Board of Trustees (Board) delegates the President or designee to establish guidelines for deposits and investments and criteria for investment decisions.  It is the intent of this policy to provide a set of basic guidelines to assure that investments are safeguarded, yet provide the appropriate flexibility in meeting the District's investment goals and objectives within the parameters of statutory responsibility and authority.

Limitations and Guidelines

The policy applies to the financial assets of all funds of the District and assures that the fundamental principles concerning an investment program involving public monies have five basic concerns:

  1. Legality:  All investments shall be made in conformity with Wis. Stats. § 66.04(2).
  2. Safety:  Investments shall be undertaken in a manner that seeks to ensure the preservation of the principal of all invested funds. Speculation is prohibited.
  3. Liquidity:  Investment maturities shall not extend beyond any recognized cash flow needs of the District.  When considering the appropriate maturities for investments, the investment officer shall assure that funds are continuously available to meet the immediate payment requirements of the District including payroll, accounts payable and debt service.
  4. Return:  The investment of all funds shall be designed to attain a market-average rate of return throughout budgetary and economic cycles, taking into account investment risk constraints and the cash flow characteristics and requirements of the District.
  5. Full and timely investment of available funds.

Prudence Required

Investments shall be made with judgment and care, under prevailing circumstances, which persons of prudence, discretion and intelligence exercise in the management of their own affairs.  Investments shall consider the probable safety of their principal as well as the probable return to be derived.

The “prudent person” standard shall be applied in the context of managing the overall portfolio.  Investments shall be made in accordance with this policy.

Qualifying Institutions

The Board designates as public depositories all banks, savings and loan associations, and credit unions with an office in this state, plus the Local Government Pooled-Investment Fund.  Additionally, investment in bonds and securities of the federal government may be made through public depositories or broker/dealers or banks reporting to the Market Reports Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of New York, also known as “primary government securities dealers” (brokers).

All depositories and brokers shall agree to undertake reasonable efforts to preclude imprudent transactions involving the District’s funds and shall be required to familiarize themselves with the District’s investment policy.

Investment Instruments

The District may invest its funds not immediately needed in the following instruments:

  1. Time deposits in any qualifying institution, if the time deposits mature in not more than one year.
  2. Bonds or securities issued or guaranteed as to principal and interest by the federal government, or by a commission, board or other instrumentality of the federal government.
  3. Bonds or securities of any county, city, drainage District, technical college District, village, town, or school District of this state.
  4. State of Wisconsin Local Government Pooled-Investment Fund or the Wisconsin School District Liquid Asset Fund, also referred to as Pooled Investments.
  5. Wisconsin Investment Series Cooperative (WISC).
  6. Fixed income securities with a minimum long-term debt rating of Aa by Moody’s or AA by Standard & Poor’s with maturities of seven years or less at the time of purchase.  In the case of amortizing securities, final maturity will be measured in terms of average life.
  7. Commercial paper of institutions incorporated in the United States with commercial paper ratings of P-1 from Moody's Investor Service and/or A-1 from Standard & Poor's Corporation.  Commercial paper may be purchased by an investment manager per Wisconsin Statutes and as part of pooled investments.
  8. Other prudent investment approved prior to purchase by the Board, conforming to applicable Wisconsin Statutes.

Collateralization of Funds

All deposits will either be insured or collateralized with pledged collateral secured through third-party safekeeping and custody.

Currently, the FDIC provides $250,000 for all time accounts combined and $250,000 for all demand accounts combined of the same depositor in the same institution, and the State Deposit Guarantee Fund under Wis. Stats. § 34.08(2) and Wis. Stats. § 20.144(1)(a), is limited to the sum of $400,000 per depositor per institution.

Funds in excess of $400,000 may be placed in a qualified institution if the depository provides a surety bond or collateralization of the time deposit.

Accounts and Records

College accounting records shall:

  1. Detail each investment as to purchase date, cost, maturity, and yield.
  2. Provide any necessary internal controls.
  3. Provide any other records that may be required to accurately reflect all investment transactions.

Risk Control

Liquidity shall be assured through matching investment maturities with anticipated cash flows.  Default risk will be controlled by the use of collateralization, registration and insurance.  In addition, the following specific controls will be observed:

  1. The District’s banking services will be competitively bid at least every five years.
  2. The District’s cash and investments will be included in the monthly financial report summary presented to the Board.


3.03 Procurement

3.03 Procurement

Title: Procurement
Number: BP 3.03
Adopted: March 1995
Reviewed: September 2020
Revised: March 2012

Purchasing procedures include all acquisitions, rentals, lease/purchases, rental/purchases, and contracts for services including personal and professional services.  All procurements should be made in compliance with state statutes, administrative rule TCS 6 and the Financial Administrative Manual (FAM).

Procurement Procedures for Capital Equipment

Nicolet College’s procurement practices are based on Administrative Rule TCS 6 and 34 CFR, paragraph 80.36.  All federal regulations apply unless State Board Policy, State Statues, or Administrative Rules are more restrictive.  These procedures apply to all District expenditures.

  1. Nicolet employees authorized to make procurements for the College shall maintain ethical standards of conduct.
  2. Nicolet encourages the use of state, federal, and local governmental contracts and cooperative purchasing agreements as an alternative to the competitive bidding procedure.
  3. Nicolet encourages patronizing Wisconsin businesses, small and minority businesses, women’s business enterprises, and businesses in labor surplus areas.
  4. All procurement transactions shall be conducted in a manner that provides maximum open and free competition.
  5. Awards shall be made only to responsible contractors that possess the ability to perform successfully under the terms and conditions of the proposed procurement.
  6. Proposals shall be solicited from an appropriate number of qualified sources.  Solicitations of offers shall include a clear and accurate description of the item or service being procured, and shall not contain features which unduly restrict competition.  When a clear and accurate description is impractical or uneconomical, a “brand name or equal” description may be used.  The specific features of the name brand, which must be met by offerors, shall be clearly stated.  Solicitations of offers shall include all requirements, which offerors must fulfill, and all other factors to be used in evaluating bids or proposals.

Construction-Related Procurement

For the purposes of procurement of construction, the Nicolet Area Technical College District Board of Trustees shall possess the powers conferred by s. 62.15 WI Statutes on the Board of Public Works and the Common Council.  All contracts for projects requiring bids under this section shall be made in the name of the District and shall be executed by the District Board Chairperson and District Board Secretary.

3.04 Facilities Planning

3.04 Facilities Planning

Title: Facilities Planning
Number: BP 3.04
Adopted: March 2012
Reviewed: September 2020

Nicolet Area Technical College Administration shall ensure that facilities are safe and adequate to accomplish the mission of the College and shall cause College assets to be adequately maintained and protected from unnecessary risk.

Administration shall:

  • Make decisions that include the considerations of life cycle costs, including preventative maintenance costs.
  • Oversee capital spending on necessary purchases.
  • Modify existing facilities with documented need.
  • Recommend land purchase decisions which include the consideration of acquisition, construction, and transportation costs.
  • Implement approved land purchases or permits, design, bid, or construction schedules that maintain or decrease costs or increase construction quality, except for reasons beyond the College’s reasonable control.
  • Operate with clear priorities when recommending building, renovating, maintaining or repairing facilities within available resources.
  • Prevent plant and equipment to be subjected to improper wear and tear or inadequate maintenance.
  • Insure against theft and casualty losses in amounts consistent with replacement values or against liability losses to Board members, staff, or the College itself in amounts consistent with limits of coverage obtained by comparable organizations.

Planning and coordination of facilities, construction requirements, renovations and remodeling, and the evaluation of space utilization will be provided on a district-wide basis in accordance with Wisconsin Statute Sec. 38 and Chapter TCS 5.  All purchases, leases, and contracts transacted shall directly support the operation of the College.  Purchases, leases, or contractual agreements shall not be made on behalf of an employee or official of the District.

On an annual basis, Administration shall prepare, adopt, and submit a Three-Year Facilities Plan to the Wisconsin Technical College System Office.  The Three-Year Plan shall include specified information regarding proposed facilities development projects for the planning period and meet other requirements as described in the WTCS Administrative Bulletin on Three-Year Facilities Plan.


3.05 Financial Aid and Lender Relationships

3.05 Financial Aid and Lender Relationships

Title: Financial Aid and Lender Relationships
Number: BP 3.05
Adopted: March 2012
Reviewed: September 2020
Revised: September 2015

Nicolet Area Technical College Administration shall publicize and coordinate student financial aid programs and shall provide technical assistance to potential and enrolled students seeking student financial aid.

The ethical conduct of student financial aid staff in working with government and private student aid lenders and the criteria for identifying opportunities and providing this information to students, is subject to the following:

  1. District employees are prohibited from:
  • Soliciting, accepting, or entering into any agreement in which an educational loan lender provides fees, revenue sharing or material benefits to the College in exchange for a recommendation of the lender or its loan products.
  • Soliciting or accepting financial aid staffing assistance from a lender.
  • Soliciting, accepting, or entering into any agreement in violation of the ethics codes under Board Policy 2.03 Code of Ethics.
  1. For students applying for financial aid, the College shall supply information in writing with available federal and state government loans and comparative information on government loans.  Students are encouraged to explore and weigh the use of federal loans that are guaranteed, regulated, and may be more advantageous, before pursuing private or alternative loans.


3.06 Fee and Tuition Remissions

3.06 Fee and Tuition Remissions

Title: Fee and Tuition Remissions
Number: BP 3.06
Adopted: March 2012
Reviewed: September 2020
Revised: September 2015

The Nicolet Area Technical College District Board of Trustees (Board) shall charge student fees as established annually by the Wisconsin Technical College System State Board.  Students 62 years old and over shall be exempted from program fees in vocational−adult courses.  Students enrolled in adult high school, including students enrolled under adult basic education and English as a  second language courses shall be exempted from program fees.  Students 60 years of age or older are permitted to audit a course, other than a community service program, without paying an auditor’s fee if the person is a resident of this state, space is available in the course, and the instructor approves.

The Board may establish student activity and incidental fees under Wisconsin Statute Sec. 38.14(9), to fund, in whole or in part, the cost of services and activities offered as support services for regular instruction.  Wisconsin Statute Sec. 38.145, empowers students to plan the use of student activity and incidental fees.  This authority is to be exercised in consultation with the College President and the resulting plans are subject to confirmation by the Board.

Fee remissions shall be granted to eligible veterans, survivors, and other individuals as outlined in Wisconsin Statute Sec. 38.24.

Fee exemptions for up to 6 credits within the same occupational program for which the degree or diploma was awarded shall be granted to a Wisconsin resident graduate of an associate degree program or vocational diploma program, provided the graduate applies for the exemption within 6 months of graduation and any of the following applies:

  1. Within 90 days after his or her initial employment, the graduate’s employer certifies to the Board that the graduate lacks entry−level job skills and specifies in writing the specific areas in which the graduate’s skills are deficient.
  2. The graduate certifies that all of the following apply:
  3. The graduate has not secured employment in the occupational field in which he or she received the degree or diploma.
  4. The graduate has actively pursued employment in that occupational field.
  5. The graduate has not refused employment in that occupational field or in a related field.
  6. The graduate has actively sought the assistance of the district placement office.