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Responsibility Centered Budgeting

Responsibility centered budgeting (RCB) is a budget model where academic units are attributed the revenue they generate and are responsible for covering their expenses. RCB emphasizes decentralized decision-making more than centralized budget models (e.g., incremental, zero-based). Academic units are accountable for their bottom line and are provided significant autonomy to make programmatic and resource allocation decisions. This entry provides an overview of the history and prevalence of RCB, describes its mechanics, and considers its advantages and disadvantages.

History and Prevalence

The University of Pennsylvania implemented the first RCB system in higher education in 1974. Prior to 2000, few institutions followed suit, but during the next 15 years, more than 50 colleges and universities across the United States and Canada implemented RCB systems. RCB is still rarely utilized ...

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