Budget Entries from FY 2009

Budget update from Board of Regents meeting

Thursday, June 11, 2009

At the meeting of the Board of Regents, State of Iowa, today in Ames, the three public universities will present their preliminary budget plans for FY10. You may view a PDF of the slides UNI will share at http://www.uni.edu/president/budget/BoRpresentation_061109.pdf

Final budgets will be presented at the August meeting. We are committed to making strategic decisions as we move forward during these very challenging budget times. I will continue to provide updates as plans are finalized.

Budget update from Board of Regents meeting

Thursday, April 30, 2009

Today, the Board of Regents, State of Iowa, are meeting at UNI. As I indicated in earlier messages, I was asked to present UNI's fiscal 2010 budget strategy.

The total reduction UNI faces for fiscal 2010 is $15.9 million. This is a consequence of a reduction in General-Fund state appropriations and expected cost increases in financial aid set-aside, utilities, merit staff step-pay increases and faculty promotions.

We are grateful that one-time federal stimulus money will be made available to UNI. The combination of the stimulus funds and new tuition revenue will significantly reduce UNI's budget shortfall.

However, given the one-time nature of the stimulus funds, we are uncertain what our financial situation will look like for fiscal 2011.

Simply put, we must see the federal stimulus funds as a "bridge" to allow UNI more time to make rational and strategic decisions regarding our long-term sustainability and commitment to the priorities of the institution.

Therefore, the Board of Regents directed its institutions to continue to think strategically while preparing for the more challenging times that may lie ahead. At UNI, we will continue the work in progress -- focusing on strategic changes that will provide significant cost-savings or revenue enhancement in human resources, technology and other capital investments, administration and facilities.

Some of the proposed strategies I discussed with the Board of Regents are outlined below.

Proposed Human Resources Strategies

  • Explore extending vesting period for retirement plans
  • Reduce and reorganize UNI's workforce through the continuation of a selective hiring freeze implemented in February, attrition and reallocation, among others

Proposed Technology and Other Capital Investments Strategies

  • Outsource selected services, such as student e-mail to Google
  • Delay purchase of classroom equipment, computer and scientific equipment
  • Delay progress of administrative software development including delaying the progress on the document imaging project and computer facilities management system

Proposed Administrative Strategies

  • Eliminate non-mission-critical programs and services
  • Continue the reduction in out-of-state travel implemented in Feb. 2009
  • Reduce general fund support to auxiliaries
  • Reduce funding to Iowa Public Radio

Proposed Facilities Strategies

  • Delay building maintenance and repair projects
  • Continue implementation of changes to heating and cooling temperatures to reduce expenses implemented in Feb. 2009
  • Consolidate summer classes to fewer buildings

I am pleased to report the Board of Regents approved UNI's early retirement incentive program. The early retirement incentive program aims to provide cost-savings for fiscal 2010 and beyond, while also providing an attractive incentive to the faculty and staff who have provided years of positive contributions to the institution.

Human Resource Services will launch a supportive Web site on Monday, May 4 to provide information on this program. This Web site will allow eligible employees to register for informational sessions and request personalized benefits information as it relates to their retirement. Please go to http://www.vpaf.uni.edu/hrs/benefits/index.shtml on May 4 for more information.

At the June Board of Regents meeting, I will present a fiscal 2010 budget summary for review and approval. Campus-wide conversation, involvement and support will be instrumental as we move forward to finalize the fiscal 2010 budget and continue preparations for fiscal 2011 and beyond.

Thank you for your ongoing patience and dedication.

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View President Allen's presentation from the April 30 Board of Regents meeting.

View the Board of Regents budget presentation from the April 30 Board of Regents meeting.

View President Miles remarks from the April 30 Board of Regents meeting.

Pre-Board of Regents meeting budget update

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Over the course of the last few weeks, the campus community has inquired about the status of our fiscal 2010 budget process. While there is little new information to share, there are several steps taking place that will move the budget process forward.

While we still do not know our fiscal 2010 budget, the adjournment of the Iowa General Assembly session, perhaps this week, will move us one step closer to a final budget, including whether or not federal stimulus monies will be directed to the university.

At the end of the month, the revenue enhancement and cost containment task forces will present draft recommendations to me. These groups have been reviewing more than 400 ideas submitted by our campus community, in addition to vetting ideas formulated within the task forces.

Lastly, during the April 30 Board of Regents meeting at UNI, the leaders of Regent institutions will present budget scenarios. This information is not final. We will not know the final budget numbers until this summer.

At that meeting, however, UNI will propose an early retirement incentive program. Program Details

It is important to note that this is purely a proposal. We will be able to provide additional information, after next week's Board of Regents meeting, if the plan is approved.

There are more than 400 faculty and staff at UNI who could take advantage of an incentive program like the one proposed. The proposed plan aims to provide cost-savings for fiscal 2010 and beyond, while also providing an attractive incentive to the faculty and staff who have provided years of positive contributions to the institution.

The final impact the current economic conditions will have on the university is still unknown. As we learn more, I will get back to you with more information.

Updated budget reduction projections

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

We continue to get a better understanding of the economic and financial realities we face as an institution. Based on a few key assumptions and the latest estimates provided, we are projecting our state appropriations for fiscal 2010 will be reduced by 11 percent, resulting in a $10.64 million reduction.

These numbers are still preliminary as the legislative session has not concluded and the fiscal 2010 state budget has not been finalized. However, we must continue making decisions that will affect UNI in a matter of a few months. The divisional vice presidents have received target reductions and have been charged to prepare a fiscal 2010 budget for their respective divisions by the end of March.

The divisions should plan to collectively reduce their fiscal 2010 budget by $5.58 million. Although the total state appropriation reduction is $10.64 million, we have taken steps to mitigate the divisional reductions for the coming fiscal year by utilizing one-time funds, among others. By doing this, the divisions will be able to phase-in the impact of the reductions, allowing the decisions to be more strategic in nature. However, the total reduction will need to be realized over time and will likely result in additional divisional budget reductions during the next few years.

The divisional vice presidents will work with their teams over the next several weeks and will meet with me in late March or early April to present their budget recommendations. Ongoing conversations with the Board of Regents regarding the budget will continue throughout the spring, and in May or June, the fiscal 2010 budget will be officially submitted to the Board for final approval.

Lastly, the Board of Regents will ask Iowa's public universities and special schools to hold flat the salaries for non-bargaining unit employees in fiscal 2010. While individual exceptions may be provided, UNI employees will be making this sacrifice alongside our state peer institutions.

The severity of the impact of the estimated reductions we face remains constant. The vice presidents have been charged to do everything possible to maintain academic quality, student progress to graduation, financial aid and campus safety and security.

Thank you for your continued dedication to serving our students and our state.

Address to the Iowa General Assembly

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

The presidents of Iowa's three public universities addressed the Iowa General Assembly's Joint Education Subcommittee on March 3. President Allen's comments (pdf) as well as comments from the presidents of Iowa State University, the University of Iowa and Iowa's two special schools.

Continuing challeges with the UNI budget

Monday, February 23, 2009

As the fiscal year continues, I am diligently working with campus community members on how we strategically face the economic challenges ahead. In every effort to keep you informed, I wanted to let you know that I and the other public university presidents will make a presentation at the meeting of the Iowa General Assembly's Joint Education Subcommittee to be held March 3. I wanted to share some of the key points I will plan to focus on at that meeting.

I will share with the members of the subcommittee that UNI is committed to educating thousands of students each year, most of whom are from Iowa and stay in Iowa, creating significant value to the state. We also take seriously our responsibility of assisting the state's economic, cultural and social development to establish Iowa's future as a state with an exceptional workforce and a high quality of life. A budget reduction of the magnitude we are facing will adversely impact our ability to serve the people of Iowa.

At UNI, these budget challenges will need to be addressed through a combination of actions. Each division is reviewing the critical nature of its services and identifying areas where strategic, targeted cuts can be made with the least amount of impact on university priorities. Across-the-board budget reductions will not be made. Some units will be affected more than others. No matter what we do, there will be a reduction in personnel, programs, services and non-personnel expenditures. As many of you know, UNI athletic director Troy Dannen has officially announced the dissolution of UNI's baseball program effective after the 2009 season. With the ongoing budget challenges, state funding of UNI athletics will be reduced, and the elimination of the baseball program is a consequence of that reality. UNI baseball has a respected history and we regret the need to make this decision based on our financial challenges. In the best tradition of UNI, every effort will be made to support the students impacted to ensure they can continue their academic pursuits at UNI, or wherever else they may choose.

Our priorities for funding will be to continue to offer those programs, services and functions that are critical to our long-term sustainability. Our student-focused approach will continue to serve this university well. We will do everything we can to maintain academic quality, progress to graduation, student financial aid and campus safety and security.

When faced with sizable challenges, we have the opportunity to sharpen our focus. I encourage you to continue to focus on the responsibilities given to UNI and look to the future with patience and courage.

New task forces to address budget situation

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

These are unprecedented times for our economy, for higher education and the University of Northern Iowa. In November and December, UNI experienced budget reversions that totaled 2.5 percent. Now, with the governor's announcement that his fiscal 2010 budget includes a 6.5 percent cut for most state agencies, including UNI, we are working to address a total reduction of 9 percent. This figure may change. Legislators have indicated it could be higher. The Revenue Estimating Conference in March will give us a better indication.

Today, I am introducing two new task forces. One will focus on new cost-containment strategies, and the other will concentrate on revenue-enhancement strategies. The task forces will be structured in such a way as to broaden and maximize input from the campus community. I will chair both of these task forces. I encourage you to communicate ideas to these task forces regarding cost containment and revenue enhancement for the university. Please send your ideas to president@uni.edu.

These task forces will be critical to our long-term sustainability. Short-term budget reduction solutions must be acted on immediately, as follows:

  • A hiring freeze is in effect. A review by the divisional vice president must be conducted for all vacancies prior to action, with exceptions reported to the president.
  • Non-essential out-of-state travel is restricted. A review by the divisional vice president must be conducted for all travel prior to action.
  • Temperature will be controlled to 68-70 degrees in the winter and 74-76 degrees in the summer unless health, safety, research needs, or equipment maintenance and usage require otherwise.
  • Lighting will be evaluated and reduced where possible without sacrificing safety.

From now until we learn the full extent of state-mandated cuts, it is critical that we all work together on strategic solutions. The larger the cut, the more collaborative support we will need from our campus, the governor and the Legislature to make critical decisions regarding staffing levels, program offerings and our institutional priorities.

The priorities we have established for this university remain important for our students and the state, even though the progress we had envisioned for the university will happen within a different time frame.

Our student-focused approach has served this university well. We cannot abandon our guiding principles just because we are in tough times. By working collaboratively and with a common purpose, we have an opportunity to ensure that UNI emerges from these economic challenges a strong university, with its values intact.

Economic downturn prompts budget reversion

Monday, November 24, 2008

For the past two fiscal years, UNI received strong state support and additional revenue from enrollment growth and tuition increases. Because of the recent natural disasters in the state and the national economic downturn, we've been asked to return $1.02 million of our fiscal 2009 state appropriation.

UNI Response

UNI is committed to a philosophy of Students First. Therefore, in fulfilling the governor's request, our priorities will be protection of our academic course offerings, student progress to graduation, and campus health and safety. The funds reverted were intended to further enhance the student learning environment and support services in such areas as information technology systems and security, library materials and building maintenance.

Looking ahead

Because we don't yet know what will happen with future state appropriations and enrollment, we're preparing several possible budget scenarios for fiscal 2010. We'll continue to protect academic course offerings, student progress to graduation, and campus health and safety. We'll welcome input as the fiscal year proceeds.

We continue to monitor the situation very closely, and I'll keep you informed of any developments as they occur.