Campus Budget Update

The need to cut costs while maintaining enrollments

As Chancellor Keon communicated recently to the Faculty Senate and Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs Ralph Rogers did at last week’s Faculty Senate Budget Committee meeting, our campus’ anticipated budget shortfall for the 2013-14 academic year is a real concern.

Tuition/fees revenue we generated for the current fall semester does not meet what we budgeted. Projecting a similar shortfall for the spring 2013 semester, we anticipate needing to reduce our budget for 2013-14 in the neighborhood of $3 million. Of course, we will not know exactly how much until Vice Chancellor for Administrative Services Ken Johnston commences his budgetary number crunching early next spring.

But make no mistake about the seriousness of this matter—and here is how we plan to proceed.

  1. You will recall during recent years of campus planning for anticipated revenue shortfalls, we proactively exercised contingency strategies in which we asked all non-instructional campus units to reduce their budgets first by 4% and then 7% and, subsequently, placed those reductions in reserve. Today, those dollars no longer are in reserve; we are drawing from them. Hence, faced with the aforementioned, projected budgetary shortfall for 2013-14, we must make further cuts, and it is Instruction’s turn to engage strategically in a thoughtful, prudent proactive process of budget reduction.
  2. Vice Chancellor Rogers has charged each School dean with establishing a budget reduction committee of faculty members to develop two scenarios: projecting 10% and 15% budget reductions that maintain the current number of instructed credit hours.
  3. A first report of these proposed reduction scenarios is due to Vice Chancellor Rogers by Dec. 1. School budget reductions will be finalized by mid-February to provide Vice Chancellor Johnston adequate time for his 2013-14 campus budget-building work.

So how can instructional budget reductions be made while maintaining instructional credit hours? Though that is the challenge of each School committee, Vice Chancellor Rogers noted the following at last week’s Faculty Senate Budget Committee meeting:

  • The average class size on our campus is 20 students. Yet, some 1,000 class sections are comprised of 20 or fewer students, resulting in an average enrollment in those sections of 12.
  • If that average of 12 increased to 16, the overall average class size on our campus would climb to 23-25.
  • Overall average campus class size of 23-25 would eliminate the vast majority of our financial shortfall.

Updates about our budget reduction process will be communicated regularly in The Bridge.