University’s 2011-2012 budget bleak as financial increases are rare

Photo by Philippe Buteau

Photo by Philippe Buteau

By: Philippe Buteau/News Director

For the first time in University history students are putting more money into the University than the state. Although it’s an event with both internal and external sources its outcomes will affect the University from top to bottom.

For the third time in three years the University requested a seven percent tuition increase – with an additional eight percent from the the Board of Trustees – bringing a total tuition increase to 15 percent. In-state students are now paying about $174 per credit for.

“We don’t like that,” said Mark Rosenberg, the University president during a budget town hall.

This year students will contribute a total of $174 million from their tuition compared to $157 million from the state. In 2007 tuition was $106 million.

As bad as the news is for students, money woes are felt on both sides with decreases being the norm throughout the University’s 2011-2012 budget.

Students are paying more because the state is providing less money, a statewide, even nationwide, issue.

The University received $157 million from the state down by $71 million, about 33 percent, when it last received $228 million.

A huge loss in money for Public Education Capital Outlay, a state program that provides money to public schools for building construction and upkeep, is another item written in red on the University’s budget.

Last year the University received the most PECO money out of all the 11 schools in the State University System with $34 million. That number’s much different this year at $7.6 million.

But because of earlier money from PECO two new buildings will complete two new buildings within the next 18 months.

General revenue, or how much money the University makes, also went down from last year by $11 million. Combined with the loss of $14 million from the federal stimulus, the University saw a loss of $25 million in total from its 2011-2012 budget.

It isn’t all doom and gloom, however, as the University saw a plus in its tuition revenue. Despite a $25 million loss, because of the combined tuition increases and enrollment growth, the University received an increase in revenue of about $21 million.

Since 2007 an additional 7,000 to 8,000 students have been admitted – from more than 38,000 in 2007-2008 to more than 42,000 in 2010-2011.

All these extra students contributing so much more over the years means student services, such as advisers and other support staff, will improve, Rosenberg said.

Back in the May town hall the president said the $174 per credit tuition students are paying, including ABOUT AN extra $26 per credit, is “an investment to ensure a quality education.”

Since 2008-2009, the University put $84 million into three areas it considers “high priority.” Those are student instructional support, research and graduate education and compliance and support.

The University has hired 80 new advisers, added 18 more advisers,  added eight more public safety officers, hired 44 new academic support staff and 15 non-academic support staff.

“Where else in the country is this happening?” Rosenberg asked. “I don’t know of any place.”

Rosenburg said in the meeting that adding those additional people will help the University’s retention and graduation rates which are critical to the state legislature as to how much money it provides to universities.

The above numbers are signs of a trend going forward. If the state continues giving universities around the same amount of money, or less as the years go by, universities will look to students to offset the loss.


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