The University of Toledo Board of Trustees approved June 23 a balanced operating budget for fiscal year 2022 pending final passage of the state of Ohio budget that plans for a return to more normal on-campus academic operations as the COVID-19 pandemic winds down.
The $807 million budget calls for modest increases in tuition for UToledo students and prices for patients at The University of Medical Center to continue to provide high-quality education and healthcare services.
The state of Ohio biennium operating budget that contains language on tuition and fee increases at public higher education institutions continues to work through the legislature. While not yet final, UToledo’s budget assumes a modest tuition increase for incoming undergraduate students in the latest cohort of the Toledo Tuition Guarantee and continuing students as permitted by law. Graduate tuition rates will increase slightly with differential tuition increases in selected graduate and professional programs.
At the hospital, a general price increase of 5% is included in the budget which assumes an increase in patient volumes as well.
The budget also recognizes the hard work of non-bargained for employees across the University during the past year with a 2% wage increase. University employees who are members of unions will receive increased compensation as determined by their collective bargaining agreements.
“We have weathered the COVID-19 pandemic keeping the safety and academic success of our students as our top priorities thanks to the commitment of our faculty and staff who have really risen to meet this challenge,” UToledo President Gregory Postel said. “We look forward to returning to a more normal academic year this fall and are well positioned to do so because of the outstanding efforts of our employees this past year.”
The Board of Trustees also approved using approximately $14 million in projected net surplus from the current fiscal year in the hospital’s budget for capital and infrastructure improvements. In addition to spending for the previously approved new electronic medical record system for the hospital contracted with EPIC, investments will be made in equipment including ultrasound units, ventilators, a nuclear imaging camera and replacing radiology and operating room equipment. Money also will be spent on new furniture for patient rooms and facilities upgrades such as cooling towers and chillers.
The University also is modernizing its parking operations by refinancing its parking assets and partnering with an industry leader. In the agreement that is being finalized, UToledo would receive an upfront payment to be invested in strategic initiatives and receive residual income over the life of the contract, and SP+ would take over day-to-day parking operations.
Effective for the upcoming academic year, the University expects modest increases in parking rates. Student rates, which have not increased since 2010, would go up $4 per semester, and employee rates, which were last increased in 2017, would increase $42 per year, or $1.62 per pay period.
In addition to the upfront payment, the parking partner assumes responsibility for capital expenditures for the parking assets, including paving and striping, and will be responsible for removing the two parking garages that are at the end of their useful life.
The Board of Trustees also heard an update from Dr. Willie McKether, vice president for diversity and inclusion and vice provost, on the key initiative to develop a systemic approach to the elimination of racism on our campuses.
McKether described efforts to reduce racial equity gaps for students and hire and promote diverse faculty and staff, and shared that the University has elevated and provided stipends for diversity officers in each college. UToledo also is launching a Center for Racial Equity and Black Student Excellence to foster a campus culture in which students feel valued, supported and equipped to reach their full potential.
At its final meeting of the fiscal year, the Board of Trustees elected officers for the 2021-22 year. Alfred Baker will continue to serve as chair, and Stephen Ciucci will continue as vice chair.
The June meeting completed the term of trustee Daniel Guttman, a partner with BakerHostetler in Columbus, and national trustee Christine Brennan, an award-winning national sports columnist for USA Today. A proclamation also was read to recognize student trustee Rebecca Dangler, who graduated in May with a bachelor’s degree in accounting and finance and completed her service on the board.