University Budget March 21, 2013
TO: Campus Community
FROM: Royce C. Engstrom, President
When the University experienced a decline in student enrollment last fall, we realized that we needed to trim budgets across campus for the current fiscal year. We made the adjustments collaboratively and with the least possible impact on our academic programming. Looking toward next year, there remain many variables that will affect our revenue over the next biennium. We will not be certain of our FY 14 budget until the end of the Legislative Session and the May Board of Regents meeting, and when we see final enrollment numbers for the fall semester.
We know that good planning now makes for better decision making down the road. Based on our enrollment this past year, which took a larger-than-expected decline in non-resident numbers, we must anticipate that our projected budget for 2013-2014 will be smaller than what we have experienced recently. I have instructed the Vice Presidents who oversee the sectors across campus to plan for a reduced budget. They are working to minimize the possible impact on people and expect to be able to manage most of those impacts through retirement and attrition.
To make the tough decisions moving forward, we will use these guidelines:
- Preserve the student academic experience. Academics are the heart of our operation and we will do everything to continue to offer the best education in the state here at The University of Montana.
- Do everything we can to ensure faculty and staff retention as our employees are the engine that makes this university run.
- Acknowledge that these are difficult decisions for everyone.
Another important guideline is this: We cannot only look at where we might reduce the budget but also where we need to make additional investments, and at creative ways we can enhance revenues beyond tuition and our state appropriation. For example, we must dedicate more resources to student recruiting by increasing our contacts with prospects and by offering incoming students greater financial aid packages.
I want you to know that when we had record enrollments in recent years, our allocation in the University System increased, as did our tuition revenue. Now, as we plan for the future, we must prepare for reductions accordingly. While our final enrollment numbers for next fall remain uncertain, one thing is clear: As the flagship university and the largest institution in the Montana University System, we will continue to shine locally, across the state, and beyond. As we build a university for the 21st century, I am excited about our potential and proud of the hard work all of you do to fulfill our mission.
I wish you well as we approach the end of the spring semester.