President’s recommended 2014 budget focuses on student-centeredness

June 10, 2013 | News, UToday, zBudget-related, Honors, Online Learning, UTMC
By Meghan Cunningham

Every decision in the proposed 2014 budget for The University of Toledo was focused first on the needs and desires of students.

“A lot of institutions talk about putting students first, and we are taking the lead by putting our money where our mouth is,” UT President Lloyd Jacobs said. “We have created a student-centered budget that started first with their needs, and all subsequent decisions were made around that framework.”

The UT Board of Trustees will consider the president’s recommended 2014 budget that includes no increases in undergraduate tuition at its meeting Monday, June 17.

The $775.2 million budget also includes no increases in room and board or general fees, something UT committed to in November very early in the budget process as part of a commitment to keep higher education affordable.

The only personnel cost increases in the proposed budget are for additional academic advisers and new success coaches who will be the go-to people for students to have all of their questions answered about the college experience. The academic advisers and success coaches will work together to assist students.

In recent years, UT has moved $12 million from backroom functions to the classroom, and the 2014 budget continues such adjustments by deferring funding for some facilities and equipment upkeep so that money can be used for academic operations.

The University had projected a $30 million shortfall for the upcoming budget year based in part by elimination of stimulus funding and reduced state support. Deferring maintenance is one of the strategies used to address the gap. While there is some measure of risk in deferring those investments, Jacobs said the University has made an increased effort to upgrade classroom facilities in recent years and that investments in areas such as the Jesup W. Scott Honors College and the online offerings through UTXnet World Campus would help the institution recruit more, better-prepared students in the coming years.

UT students also will benefit from more experienced professors in the classroom with new faculty workload requirements that adjust the hours they spend teaching along with research and service activities. The new requirements also contributed to more than $5 million in salaries and benefits savings.

The recommended budget was presented June 3 to the Finance and Audit Committee of the Board of Trustees and was forwarded on to the full board for action at the June 17 meeting.

The combined $775.2 million budget consists of a $498.8 million, break-even budget for academic operations and $276.4 million for the clinical enterprise that includes a 6.5 percent operating margin.

The academic budget anticipates a small decline in undergraduate enrollment. Additional revenue will be generated from a recommended 3.5 percent tuition increase for graduate and professional programs.

The clinical budget includes a 5 percent price increase for inpatient and outpatient procedures and projects a 4.3 percent addition in revenue based on growth in the surgery and acute rehab areas. The UT Medical Center also is transferring $2.4 million to the academic budget to support academic programs.

Jacobs and Chief Financial Officer David Dabney both thanked the UT community for a highly participatory budget process that included input from the new University Council’s Finance and Strategy Subcommittee with representation from Faculty Senate, Student Government, Professional Staff Association, the deans and senior administrators.

This story that appears in the June 10 print edition of UT News incorrectly used 2013 budget data. The story here has 2014 budget figures.

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