Board approves revised budget

10/16/2013

 

To: Faculty and staff
From: Provost Mike Sherman and CFO David Cummins
Date: Oct. 16, 2013
Re: Budget update

Dear Colleagues,

Our Board of Trustees today approved a revised budget for the current fiscal year.  Previous budget reductions presented to the Board over the summer totaled more than $25 million in operating expenses across the campus and the elimination of about 100 positions, most of them vacant or the result of retirement or attrition. 

The new budget is a result of a campus-wide effort to reduce expenses even further in order to fill a larger gap produced by a decline in enrollment and student credit hours.  Fall 2013 student credit hours are roughly 6% below fall 2012, resulting in a projected revenue reduction of $15 million.

Over the last two months, colleges and departments were asked to identify new opportunities for savings, expense reduction or revenue generation.  As a result:

  • In the revised budget, the academic units took further reductions of 3.9 percent or $5.2 million. Much of the savings, achieved through existing vacancies, should be considered one-time until a more thorough review determines the effect on course offerings and program delivery. This will start shortly.
  • The academic support units took further reductions of 7.2 percent or $6 million, achieved through additional position eliminations, employee separations, reallocating resources, deferring major purchases and increasing efficiencies.
  • Approximately 30 employees have been notified that their positions are being eliminated or their contracts are not being renewed.  Most of these employees will continue to work through the end of the year. 

These are extremely difficult decisions, and we continue to appreciate the involvement of all those who have offered suggestions on reducing costs—an ongoing challenge for the entire organization.   

Looking forward, many of you have asked what you can do to help improve our overall circumstances. No factor plays a larger role in our budget than student success. Increasing retention rates by a few percentage points would improve our outlook significantly. We work daily on this issue on multiple fronts:

  • Academic advising services have been significantly strengthened.
  • New mechanisms are in place to help identify students at risk earlier in the semester.
  • Students with financial issues are receiving greater guidance.

Further, the university is implementing a number of strategies to increase enrollment next fall of academically-prepared students who are more likely to succeed in a four-year university program.

We continue to welcome your ideas to reduce costs and increase efficiencies. Also, we continue to respond to budget questions of broad interest submitted via the form on our budget page.

Thank you again for your service to our University and our students.