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Budget and Tuition Update

Posted on Tuesday, January 27th, 2009 under Budget News

Members of the UNCG Community,

As we begin a new academic semester at UNCG, we are faced with the most serious economic challenge of our lifetimes.  As you know, we are planning significant budget cuts for the next fiscal year.  The Office of State Budget and Management notified us recently that we should plan for a 6% cut in our state budget for the current fiscal year.  We already had a plan in place to cover the 5% reduction previously mandated by former Governor Easley.

More than 80% of our budget supports salaries and benefits of permanent faculty and staff; nearly 4% is linked to utilities costs; 2% is allocated to student financial aid, and we expect more students will qualify for financial aid in the coming year.  It is a real challenge to reduce our budget by 6% midway through the fiscal year.  However, other state agencies are being asked to take even larger cuts.  We appreciate Governor Perdue’s strong desire to minimize the impact on quality education in North Carolina.

We have already taken several steps to comply with the Office of State Budget and management directive:

  • All spending will be carefully scrutinized and monitored.
  • Purchase orders must be approved in writing by the Dean, Associate Provost, Associate Vice Chancellor or their equivalents.  Departments are responsible for keeping a copy of this approval in their files.
  • Purchase orders for supplies, equipment and materials needed for classroom instruction are not subject to this approval process.
  • All travel is subject to the same approval process as purchase orders, including an appropriate signature on the travel authorization form (TRV-1).

Governor Perdue has exempted the universities from a restriction placed on other state agencies concerning the ability to fill vacant positions. Departments should continue to carefully consider anticipated 2009-10 budget cuts when making hiring decisions.

Yesterday morning the chancellors met with President Bowles and members of the staff at General Administration to consider the new economic circumstances facing our campuses, our students, and the citizens of the State of North Carolina. We discussed the deteriorating economic situation and plans universities are making to meet the 6% reversion required in the current fiscal year and the impact of projected budget cuts in the next fiscal year on the quality of education offered by the UNC system.

We believe the economic circumstances have changed dramatically since we initiated discussion of proposed tuition and fee increases on our campuses last fall.  Yesterday President Bowles and the chancellors agreed to recommend to the Board of Governors a scaled-back proposal for resident undergraduate tuition rates that would cut the proposed increase for resident undergraduates by 33%.  In addition, we agreed that not less than 40% of the tuition revenues would be used for need-based financial aid, and up to 60% would be available to meet other critical needs, as determined by the chancellor and with the approval of the President’s Office.  Proposed increases for non-resident undergraduates, resident and non-resident graduate students, and fees would remain consistent with the increases approved by the UNCG Board of Trustees.

For UNCG resident undergraduates, this proposal would reduce the proposed increase in tuition for 2009-10 to $83.  The proposed increase in fees would remain at $19.  Fifty-five percent of the tuition revenue under this revised proposal would be invested in need-based financial aid and 45% of the tuition revenue would be invested in other critical needs.

The chancellors will meet with members of the Board of Governors on Friday to answer questions about our specific proposals. I am convinced adopting this proactive strategy, along with the chancellors of the other UNC institutions, is an appropriate response to the increasingly serious economic circumstances we face. We believe that an increase in tuition and fees, although modest, is critical to maintaining the quality of a UNCG education for students who represent the future of North Carolina. We will continue to provide updates in the coming weeks.

I appreciate all that you do on behalf of UNCG. These are extraordinary times, and they require extraordinary people for us to succeed.

Linda P. Brady

Posted in Budget News.