She explained to the staff that the UNCG budget was in flux, as the state budget work continued in Raleigh. But she explained what is known at this time. “Our goal today is to really hear from you,” she told the senators.
She reviewed with the senators the budget principles adopted in May 2009, including protecting the academic core and considering the UNCG Strategic Plan 2009-14.
And she spoke about budgetary planning priorities:
- Protect course availability.
- Support student-facing services, including recruitment, admissions and financial aid.
- Consider health and hygiene-related services such as counseling and housekeeping staff.
- Support Public Safety and Campus Police.
- Sustain 24/7 coverage of IT servers.
If the cut for 2011-12 is at 15 percent, “we’d lose 44,000 seats in courses,” she said. The budget proposal that came from the state House appropriations subcommittee the day before her Staff Senate presentation called for a cut of 17.4 percent for the system, she added.
The chancellor has noted that between 2007-08 and 2010-11, UNCG has already taken permanent cuts of more than $9.6 million. UNCG has absorbed another $39 million in one-time cuts and mandatory reversions during this period. These cuts have had a dramatic impact on the ability of the university to fulfill our missions of teaching, research and service, she has explained.
Among additional points she made in her presentation to Staff Senate:
- Our tuition at UNCG has increased more than 29 percent over the last three years, she said. That is lower than the system average. That rise in tuition – coupled with financial aid being at risk at the state and federal levels – creates concern over access to education.
- UNCG’s Academic Program Review should result in savings over time, but it is unlikely to have an immediate impact on savings.
- UNCG will have a smaller freshman class in the coming academic year, as a result of UNCG raising the entrance standards. The enrollment for distance education is expected to rise and we expect more transfer students, she said.
- UNCG’s budget plan would likely be modified based on the final state budget and on feedback received in meetings with Faculty Senate, Staff Senate, Dean’s Council, the Student Government Association, the general faculty and Board of Trustees.
- She indicated that UNCG’s budget web site would be enhanced in a couple of weeks, providing more context for items posted there. You may sign up for the budget listserv alerting you when new items are posted there.
“Times are difficult,” she said, explaining that the large budget cuts will be a “difficult challenge” for us.
“We’ll get through it,” she told the staff senators.
Note: Two upcoming discussions on campus will focus on the budget.
- On Wednesday, April 27, at 3 p.m., Faculty Senate hosts a forum on “Academic Program Review Process Update and Budget Update.” It will be in EUC Auditorium. Everyone is welcome to attend. The chancellor will be among those speaking.
- On Friday, April 29, at 11 a.m. in Jarrell Lecture Hall, Jackson Library, a talk on “Where UNCG Fits Into the State’s Budget” will be given. The presenter will be Mike Tarrant, special assistant to the chancellor in UNCG’s Office of Government Relations. Tarrant will explain how UNCG is represented to state elected officials, how UNCG’s state legislative agenda works and how proposed budget cuts will impact UNCG. The program is open to the entire UNCG community.
By Mike Harris
Photograph by Mike Harris