The most recent University Senate meeting, held yesterday, found itself at the epicenter of economic maneuvering.
University of Connecticut President Susan Herbst gave her “Report of the President” in which she addressed many issues on and off the Storrs campus. Alongside Herbst, the Executive Vice President for Administration and Chief Financial Officer, Scott Jordan, delivered the current financial report for UConn’s 2017 Fiscal Year.
With so many recent budget cuts from Connecticut legislators to the funding of higher education in public universities, there has been a substantial amount of turmoil amongst university representatives for the coming fiscal year.
“The budget looked grim until today,” Herbst said.
In regards to the recent cuts of the previous year, there is ease amongst university administration now. University officials were expecting a rather large cut to state funding, but thus far, they have remained afloat from careful allocation of their money, Herbst said.
“We have to stay within our means and provide a really high quality education for our students. Close contact with faculty, smaller class sizes, and a better quality of life is what we aim for,” Herbst said, in regards to the newly balanced budget plan.
The meeting came to an agreement when it was found that the university would not be taking as many students as projected for the upcoming fiscal year, with new students applying for admission.
“We can’t take as many students as projected from our current stance on funding. We are not here to shovel students in and out each year and hand them a degree. We are here to help give them a memorable, lasting education,” Herbst said in her closing remarks.
Jordan presented the budget report for the fiscal year of 2017 later in the meeting,
As well as an in-depth slideshow of past, current and future predictions of budget allocations for the university.
The information presented showed that in the face of a $17.4 million mid year state budget cut, UConn successfully balanced the fiscal year of 2016 with a small net gain of $2.7 million dollars.
“Despite continued fiscal pressure among legislators, UConn successfully has a balanced budget for the coming fiscal year of 2017. In the fiscal year of 2017, tuition will be the largest revenue source, surpassing state-supported funding for the coming year,” Jordan said in the presentation.
Evidently, 28 percent of budget funding came from state support, and 28.2 percent from student tuition. UConn still has higher state support in comparison to other universities around the nation. However, this is caused mainly by such a low foundation support at only 1.5 percent, much smaller than other universities around the nation.
In fiscal year 2017, UConn has already been cut $11.4 million and is at risk for an additional cut of $19 million. Up to the 2017 year, UConn has sustained $86.9 million in state reduction, lost fringe and budget sweeps. Unfortunately for university funding, based on current projections, the gap will continue to grow in fiscal year 2018.
Despite NextGenCT operating fund shortages, numerous slashes in state funding and careful allocation to balance the past and future budgets, the total enrollment has increased by five percent since fiscal year 2013.
While the university continues to prioritize student and faculty needs, the impacts of the budget cuts are being felt around campus. However, UConn remains committed to supporting students and is providing an additional $11.2 million in financial aid for the fiscal 2017 year after finalizing the budget.
Patrick Carignan is a campus correspondent for The Daily Campus. He can be reached via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.