UPDATE: Tuition, fees account for almost half of 2015-16 budget

File photo of Cherry Hall.

Herald Staff

The Board of Regents approved a $396.5 million budget for the upcoming 2015-2016 school year at a special Board meeting last Friday, June 26. 

The budget takes into account a 3.7 percent increase in tuition for in-state undergraduate students, up from $9,140 in fiscal year 2015 to $9,482 in fiscal year 2016. Close to half the budget- 49.2 percent or $195.2 million- will come from tuition and fees. This percentage number has increased dramatically over the last decade due to declining enrollment numbers. In 2008 tuition and fees accounted for roughly 38 percent of the university’s revenue stream, where now it stands at nearly half.  

The budget has money allotted to expand scholarship offerings by $6.3 million. Employee health insurance and retirement benefits have also received increased money in the new budget. It also included a $2 million state appropriation for the Gatton Academy. The money will allow a 200 student expansion for Gatton by fall 2017.

Despite the budget reflecting a $4.2 million increase in dollar amount from the previous fiscal year, the university division endured a $7.9 million trim to balance the operating budget.  Of the $7.9 million that was trimmed, $2.4 million was accounted for by a drop in enrollment. 

Another cause for the cut came from scholarships, where the university will fund $18.6 million in scholarship awards, up roughly $4 million from fiscal year 2015’s $14.05 million amount awarded. 

Of the $7.9 million being internally reallocated, the office of academic affairs is taking the brunt of the cuts—almost 70 percent. This number might seem extreme, but nominally compares to the other components of the university, as the office of academic affairs also accounts for roughly that percentage of the budgets entirety.

The office of academic affairs received a $5.5 million cut in funds to be reallocated in other facets of the budget. Dr. Gordon Emslie, Provost and Vice President for academic affairs has eliminated 10 vacant faculty positions and one vacant staff position to free up $733 thousand in staffing plan funds.

Other identified sources of money that have been reallocated from academic affairs elsewhere include half of the $914 thousand received through the Navitas program, $341 thousand from the nursing assessment program, $260 thousand from faculty search and accreditation reimbursement, $163 thousand from the forensics program, and $62 thousand from remaining VPR funds.

Compared to the office of academic affairs’ $5.5 million drop in available funding, the next largest sector to take a hit was the chief facilities office, which came to $681 thousand.

Here is a list of all the division and the amount of money they must trim to reallocate:

  • Academic Affairs- $5,556,180
  • Chief Facilities Officer- $681,047
  • University Wide- $426,389
  • Chief IT Officer-$357,897
  • Student Affairs- $212,167
  • Finance and Admission- $203,126
  • Chief Enrollment and Graduation Officer- $198,118
  • Athletics- $124,776
  • Public Affairs- $83,870
  • Chief Diversity Officer- $30,241
  • President- $9,051

The Board will convene again for their summer retreat on July 23.