IU officials, student groups slash funding



Saving more than $55 million this fiscal year, IU isn’t taking any chances with its budget.

To offset the difficult times, the University has responded in multiple ways, said Neil Theobald, IU’s vice president and chief financial officer.

University officials will provide no salary increases or performance bonuses for faculty or staff in the upcoming year.

However, many full-time employees making $30,000 or less will receive a one-time supplemental bonus of $500.

Last year, the budget for University-funded travel was $9.4 million, Theobald said. In order to cut costs, the University trimmed the travel budget by half, down to $4.7 million this year.

And if a non-faculty member leaves the University, the replacement’s salary will be cut by half, Theobald said.

Despite these budget cuts, Theobald said the University has increased spending in two areas.

In Bloomington, the University has increased undergraduate financial aid by about $15 million. Students who come from low-income families or performed well in high school will benefit most from this increase.

“I know of no other campus or university as Bloomington that has made college this affordable,” Theobald said.

He said the University will also increase spending by covering the expected increased cost for health care for faculty and staff.

He said no matter what the cost is to cover employee health care, the University will “find the money.”

SHOW US THE MONEY

IU has two sources of revenue for its operating budget: state funding and tuition.

The Indiana General Assembly passed the state budget on June 30, cutting funding for all eight IU campuses by 4.5 percent for the 2010 fiscal year and 1.5 percent for the 2011 fiscal year.

A one-time allocation from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act makes up the difference from the state budget cuts, so total IU funding from the state will remain consistent at about $600 million, representing about 22 percent of IU’s overall $2.7 billion budget.

In response to less money from the state, the IU board of trustees approved a tuition increase July 16.

For the 2009-10 academic year, in-state tuition and fees will increase by $381.78, or 4.6 percent, and out-of-state tuition by $1,391.18, or 5.6 percent.

For the 2010-2011 academic year, the board approved increases of $414.38, or 4.8 percent, for in-state undergraduates and $1,528.38, or 5.8 percent, for out-of-state students.

AUXILARY UNITS

University administrators aren’t the only ones who have to deal with tighter budgets.

IU has several auxiliary units that generate their own funding. Organizations such as IU Athletics, the Indiana Memorial Union and the IU Foundation have to work within their own operating budgets with no University funding.

Eugene Tempel, IU Foundation president, said there’s a strong correlation between the performance of the economy and philanthropy.

He said gifts to the University tend to decrease when the economy is performing poorly, and the IU Foundation is down about 8.2 percent in number of donors this year. The Foundation’s goal was to keep that number less than 10 percent.

Tempel said that, like the University, the Foundation has instituted a salary freeze.

“We’re not replacing the person if someone leaves, but asking others to assume some of those duties, asking people to double up,” he said.

Tempel said the Foundation has also begun to examine its travel budget. He said most of the traveling in the next year will be to visit donors.

Bruce Jacobs, executive director of the Indiana Memorial Union, said the Union’s main revenue comes from its hotel, parking lot fees and food services.

He said because of the recession, hotel occupancy is down 7 percent and the use of the parking lot dropped off when gas prices spiked during the summer of 2008.

Like the Foundation, Jacobs said if a staff member resigns, the Union won’t replace them but instead spread their duties out among other workers.

He said budget restrictions are keeping the Union from renovating a few bathrooms, but construction will go ahead on a new computer lab.

Jacobs said the goal for the IU auxiliary units is always to manage their operations so that they are providing support to the academic mission of the campus.

“The ultimate goal in this is to keep the costs down for the students and faculty and staff that use the building,” he said. “That’s important to us.”

STUDENT GROUPS

The Asian Culture Center has always operated on a shoestring budget, said Director Melanie Castillo-Cullather.

“The recession just makes it more difficult for us because the academic departments and other offices we normally rely on for help to support our programs are also experiencing a budget crunch,” she wrote in an e-mail.

The ACC operates on a budget between $115,000 to $118,000 a year, including salaries and expenses.

Castillo-Cullather said the ACC’s travel funds have now been combined with other centers on campus, which can only be accessed if a request is approved.

The ACC also had to scale back an annual overnight retreat to Bradford Woods. Instead of going out for the retreat, the center conducted the retreat on campus.

Peter SerVaas, IU Student Association president, said student groups on campus will not be receiving less money as a whole this academic year.

Even though IUSA has the same operating budget, it has still cut spending by about 50 percent.

“We were doing it in preparation that our fees would be cut,” he said. “But they were just necessary cuts we thought needed to be made.”

WHAT'S NEXT?


Theobald said because of the University-wide salary freeze, IU saved about $50 million.

He said the salary freeze was the biggest University project they had to put on hold. But most of the construction projects on campus are funded through donors, he said, and those projects will continue moving forward.

“It’s a very difficult time,” Theobald said. “The focus of the president and trustees are on students and faculty.”

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