Year end update
Last week's meeting of the University's Board of Regents touched on several important issues for the coming year, including the recommended budget for 2009-10 and new legislation regarding alcohol at intercollegiate athletic events. These are challenging times, but I want to reassure you that the University of Minnesota remains committed to its core values, principles, and academic mission.
State budget and impact
The University's state funding is being reduced substantially--we are facing a cut of $104 million to our state budget base, and yesterday the governor announced an additional unallotment that will take our reduction to $155 million or 11 percent. For FY 2011, our state appropriation will be rolled back to $627 million, approximately the same amount we received in 2002 in real dollars, and roughly the same as our 1978 state appropriation when adjusted for Consumer Price Index (CPI) inflation. Reductions of this magnitude will certainly impact our ability to deliver on our mission. However, our commitment to the quality of the University of Minnesota remains strong, and we will not compromise the education of our students.
I am very proud of the creativity and compassion demonstrated by the academic and administrative support units as they have budgeted for these historic cuts. In keeping with our budget principles, we have made every effort to support our faculty and staff and avoid layoffs. Unfortunately, we are unable to support compensation increases in the coming year, and we are reducing the University's workforce by more than 1,200 positions for 2009-10. These reductions include:
- More than 200 faculty and non-student staff positions that are open as a result of the Retirement Incentive Option (RIO) implemented more than a year ago
- More than 220 faculty positions and more than 280 non-student staff positions that are open as a result of normal turnover
- Nearly 160 student positions
- More than 370 layoffs or non-renewals
It is important to note that most of these positions can be eliminated thanks to RIO, the normal turnover of people and positions, and careful planning to redistribute work. That said, these reductions have a very real human impact, and no unit is unaffected.
We are also doing all we can to lessen the impact on Minnesota students and families--in fact, 70 percent of the budget challenge we face in the coming year will be solved by University budget cuts. The remaining 30 percent will be solved by increased tuition revenue. However, thanks to our free-tuition program for low-income Minnesota students, expanded need-based support for middle-income Minnesota students, and strong support for students and their families included in federal stimulus legislation, more than 60 percent of Minnesota undergraduates will actually pay less for college next year than they did this year--as much as $1,900 less, even before the $700 Hope Tax Credit increase.
Our challenge going forward will be to continue to reduce costs and grow new revenue. In 2011-12, once the federal stimulus dollars run out, we will need to be a more productive organization with a long-term plan in place to sustain our strong leadership with regard to education, research, outreach, and affordable access for students from all walks of life. You can find additional information about the University's budget, as well as my presentation to the Board, at the Economy and the U Web site.
Last week I also brought a recommendation to the Board of Regents that no alcoholic beverages be sold or served during scheduled intercollegiate athletic events at TCF Bank Stadium, Williams Arena, and Mariucci Arena. This recommendation is a result of unexpected new legislation requiring that alcoholic beverages be sold everywhere in these three venues, or nowhere at all. The University has never sold alcohol on campus at student-oriented events--and given the choices, I believe that this recommendation is the best one for the University, its students, and its fans.
The intercollegiate athletic experience at the new stadium will be second to none, thanks in large part to the generous support of approximately 2,100 donors who not only helped us reach our initial private fund-raising goal of $86 million last month, but who also contributed more than $45 million to support our academic mission. TCF Bank Stadium will provide a new public gateway into the University of Minnesota--and I encourage each of you to see this magnificent new facility firsthand during Celebrate U Day, our faculty and staff appreciation event on Tuesday, Aug. 25, from 2 to 6 p.m., at the stadium.
Thank you for the tremendous work you've done during this past year. I wish you all a restful and enjoyable summer.
Robert H. Bruininks