Our budget: A plan to stabilize, invest and grow11/21/2016
President Matthew J. Wilson
There has been much good news over the past four months at the University, and I anticipate much more to come. Donations to UA are climbing, there is a renewed sense of coming together, the media coverage has been very positive, there’s a greater focus on your success, applications for next fall are increasing, and just a few weeks ago we announced a $3 million Knight Foundation grant.
In short, there is much excitement about our University in the community. In fact, I have felt this excitement at each of the nearly 50 high schools I have visited this semester. There also is a renewed sense of optimism on campus and we have you to thank for it. Your presence here is the strongest endorsement of UA, and I am grateful for you.
As we move forward, we will Stabilize – Invest – Grow. Following a sizable dip in student enrollment this year, I want to:
- share a report that we are publicly releasing today about the financial realities associated with the dip in enrollment;
- let you know firsthand about the two-year plan we are designing to move beyond our budgetary challenges; and,
- inform you that the plans do not contemplate a tuition increase at this time.
Please note that the report and action plan have been reviewed with Student Government representatives, the leadership of Faculty Senate, University Council, the AAUP and other bargaining units, as well as with the Board of Trustees.
As we move forward, the University continues to work tirelessly to minimize the impact any adjustments might have on you, your education, the value of your degree, your experience, as well as on the UA faculty and staff who work on your behalf. You are our top priority!
Allow me to provide some additional information. Several months ago, an anonymous donor enabled us to hire the management and accounting firm of Ernst and Young (E&Y) to assess our past activities, better understand our current financial situation, and provide preliminary suggestions to ensure budgetary stability going forward. E&Y delivered an objective and impartial report of our financial history and current status. The report is available at uakron.edu/budget, but I can summarize its key finding as our expenses outpace our revenues, and will continue to do so without action on our part.
The E&Y report also helps us focus on solutions. We have developed a strategic plan to meet our challenges. We will further stabilize our institution with a variety of initiatives that address our challenges, including a voluntary employee buy-out program to reduce personnel expenses and an assessment of improvements we can make in our operations to control expenses; we will invest in student retention and student recruitment opportunities to increase enrollment; and we will grow our existing networks of support and partnerships, look at more international opportunities, and expand our evening, weekend, and non-traditional course and program offerings. You can find more details about this two-year plan, the financial report, and my video explanation of it at uakron.edu/budget.
This is a lot to take in at once. There will be many more discussions and planning activities across campus. If you have any questions or concerns, please do not hesitate to e-mail me at email@example.com. I personally read every message, and will respond to as many as I can.
We will continue to work hard on your behalf. You can help by demonstrating to the world the value of an Akron education with your own academic and personal success. Make the grades. If necessary, reach out for help. Work hard towards graduation. Engage in campus life. Show up and show pride at events like Zip basketball games. By talking about the great things at UA, you can really help us and also enhance the value of your degree.
I wish you a very Happy Thanksgiving, and wish you the best with the remainder of the semester.
Matthew J. Wilson
Monday, Nov. 21, 2016