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Northern Arizona University engages in thoughtful planning processes to fulfill its social contract with the Arizona public and to allocate state funds and tuition revenue effectively and with transparency. State of Arizona requirements and Arizona Board of Regents expectations are the foundations of the NAU processes. At the university level, strategic planning is coordinated through the division of Finance, Institutional Planning and Analysis and informed by the members of the Strategic Planning and Budget Council and President’s Cabinet. Divisions and other lower-level units use the university strategic plan as a framework for their planning and budgeting efforts.

In addition, the internal 2016 university strategic plan serves as a guide for a number of external mandatory reports and plans: