Last week, the Board of Trustees approved a proposal for a new Master's of Science in Mathematics program for Shawnee State University that has been submitted to the Board of Regents for its review and approval. With the growth of our graduate programs, the provost and leadership in academic affairs are working to redefine the graduate admissions process in efforts to standardize and streamline how prospective graduate students are enrolled to Shawnee State to further their education.
We're excited about advances in graduate education and look forward to sharing more about these programs and processes in the coming weeks as developments occur.
Central Stores was created a number of years ago as a way to provide departments access to frequently used office supplies. Now that these supplies can be obtained quickly and conveniently through Bear e-Buy, Procurement Services will discontinue operation of Central Stores.
In an effort to maximize savings from inventory already purchased, this service will not discontinue until items in stock are used. Before making purchases for office supplies on Bear e-Buy, please check with Central Stores first to make sure the item you need isn't in inventory. Thank you for your extra time and attention during this transition.
Late this week we began difficult discussions with some employees as we address personnel changes that are being made in order to reduce personnel expenses in the FY14 budget.
Through a process that reviewed all functions within the University and responded to factors that could not be changed during the current fiscal year, we developed a personnel cost reduction plan that reduced community-based services that do not directly support our mission and eliminated some staffing. All of these changes will result in changes in, and elimination of, some of the work we do.
As a result, 13 currently filled positions have been eliminated—with 7 individuals having bumping rights or access to other roles, 2 with reduced hours and 4 transitioning out of the University.
Employees affected are being notified and we will begin seeing changes in some offices almost immediately. Other changes will take effect over the next few months. Those offices impacted will be working with Human Resources to realign work and identify things that we will no longer do.
These difficult changes are critical to our ability to address our institution’s immediate and future financial challenges while continuing to protect and serve our core mission.
As you know, these changes are only part of a multi-year plan to ensure our financial stability. Information on other efforts that are helping us achieve our goals may be found at http://www.shawnee.edu/off/pres/budget.html under FAQs.
I know the transitions ahead of us will be challenging and I thank you for all you will do to help us support our colleagues and continue to advance our mission.
Those of you who attended the budget meeting last week may remember that I indicated that as part of our cost control measures we are changing how travel is funded. We have modestly reduced the amount of funds available for travel, with the exception of the Faculty Development funds and class field trips supported by lab fees or other student charges.
Funds for all travel will be administered through the Vice Presidents and my office for personnel and activities within our divisions. This means that the approval process for travel will now require more information and time. Department heads will soon receive detailed guidance about these new procedures. I urge every potential traveler to anticipate that the approval process will now take longer and to talk with your department head about the new procedures.
This afternoon I am sending to the Board of Trustees for approval the FY14 Budget for the University's General Fund. This budget is an aggressive response to a set of circumstances that have dramatically altered the university's resources and operations. I urge you to read the following information carefully and plan to attend the information session I will announce below so that you are fully informed about the changes that will go into effect with the Board's approval of the budget.
Three factors have put intense pressure upon our university resources:
Our initial recognition of these changing dynamics led to our making nearly $1,000,000 in mid-year reductions last fiscal year. This action was supplemented by other actions that included initiation of steps to significantly reduce planned use of reserves in the FY14 (AY2013-14) budget, a project to better manage the funds supporting instruction, and our implementation of an aggressive new student success programming to improve our graduation rate over the next few years.
With the completion of the State budget in late June, which included the new funding formula, I chose to not give the Board an FY14 budget in July as it was clear enrollment was not going to meet our planning expectations. In May the Board had approved a continuing resolution and in July we allocated to all units a portion of the funds they had in FY13. What was not clear at that time was the dramatic nature of our enrollment decline and we are still working to understand the reasons for the decline and identify methods to respond.
Ultimately we started this instructional year with a need to make permanent all of the $1,000,000 in "take backs" in FY13, an $823,000 decrease in state funding related to our retention and graduation rates, the loss of an anticipated $500,000 in the state budget to assist us in transitioning to the new funding formula, and $2,300,000 in lost tuition revenue because of our fall semester enrollment decline. In addition, we set a goal of a $1,500,000 reduction in our reliance on reserves.
The budget I have asked the Board to approve includes a nearly $4,000,000 decrease in expenditures below the budget they approved last year. The decrease includes the "take backs" from last academic year, reductions in expenditures in personnel costs, and non-compensation items, utilization of funds from alternative university funds for large one-time-only expenditures for needs such as technology, deferring some known expenditures, and reallocations and investments in student support programming, building our capacity to add new programming, and increase our enrollments.
Our most important guiding principles as we responded to the circumstances created by the enrollment decline were to protect our core mission and its quality, execute budgets that keep the institution fiscally viable, maximize resources to support student success, minimize the impact upon our students' "time to graduation," invest in building instructional capacity, and minimize impacts upon our current employees.
In preparation for the new budget, I have closed the search for a new Director of Events and Conferences, directed that the Provost conduct an internal search for a new Dean of the College of Professional Studies, and delayed any consideration of a new Vice President for Student Affairs pending budget planning for FY15.
Some of the changes in the FY14 budget are temporary. In the FY15 budget we will need to make them permanent, respond to any changes in enrollment and state funding, and eliminate the final portion of the budget that relies upon reserves. This means that the reductions in FY14 will be followed by further reductions in FY15 and we will also need to plan for a known $1M reduction in funding by the State in FY16.
While these numbers are large, they are not unmanageable. However, dealing with them requires many difficult decisions. To help you best understand how we are responding to this new set of circumstances, I urge you to make every effort to keep informed.
Most importantly, I urge you to carefully manage the resources for which you are responsible following the new guidelines and being mindful of the implications of the decisions you will make about expenditures. The FY14 budget is very tight and provides little opportunity to respond to unknowns. If we find that our expenditures are exceeding the budget, we will take actions to further reduce expenditures mid-year.
In the past this University community has responded well to many challenges. I am proud of our collective response to the recession as we continue to serve our mission to our students and our community. We are at our best when we work together and I look forward to working and talking with each of you as we respond to this new set of challenges. Thank you in advance for all you will do.
On Monday, our first day of fall semester, we welcomed 4300 new and returning students to campus. This number is down about 6%, or 282 students, over last year.
We anticipated a decrease this semester due to a larger than usual graduating class last year; a leveling of the number of traditional-aged students within the region, the state and the nation; and a national trend of declining enrollment in institutions similar to us. We delayed finalizing our budget for the current year until we knew our final numbers so that we could maximize our resources.
While there was a decline in overall numbers, we have more new students this fall, with a 4.6% increase in the number of first-time freshmen this year over last. An increasing number of students are attracted to Shawnee State University and our expanded recruitment efforts are showing results.
The decrease is in the number of returning students and transfer students. We are optimistic that our new Success Curriculum will be of value to continuing students, we are learning what we can about why students did not return, and I have appointed an Enrollment Status Task Force with representation from Admissions, Institutional Effectiveness, Student Affairs, and Academic Affairs to advise me on additional programming for both these student groups.
In the coming weeks we will share what we learn with the campus community as we continue with our efforts to enhance retention of our students.
On Sunday Governor Kasich signed HB59 which included funding for state colleges and universities and placed a cap on tuition increases. On Monday I authorized, per Board authorization, an increase in AY2013-14 tuition of $188 ($94 per semester) in undergraduate tuition and sent this information to our students and our families. Graduate tuition for AY2013-14 was approved by the Board of Trustees at its May 2013 meeting.
Fund allocation to Shawnee State University was approximately $500,000 less than was included in previous versions of the budget and we are beginning to assess the impact of this reduction upon our preliminary FY14 budget plans. Additionally, preliminary enrollment for fall semester indicates that we are still in an enrollment trough.
Consequently, I have delayed the completion of the FY14 budget until September so that we may present to the Board of Trustees for approval a budget that minimizes our utilization of reserves and should not have to be modified during the fiscal year.
Until a final budget is approved we will continue to operate on a "continuing resolution" based upon FY13 funding and will utilize the following temporary spending guidelines:
Details of these guidelines will be provided to budget managers by mid-month.
This week we were able to finalize our 15th day enrollment numbers and assess the impact of this year's reduced enrollment upon our operating budget. The current year budget was developed with an assumption of 0% increase in enrollment. The decrease in both fall and spring enrollment requires that we make mid-year adjustments in order stay within budget.
As a result of lower than anticipated enrollment in the fall, we adjusted class offerings for this spring semester to reflect actual enrollment, cancelled some planned non-compensation expenditures for the year, and began monitoring non-compensation spending to ensure that no unit would overspend its budgeted amount. Spring semester enrollment also did not meet projections (4.7% decrease) and this situation requires that we take additional actions to keep within our approved budget for the year.
In the last few days, the Vice Presidents and I have reviewed the status of expenditures within our areas with budget managers to identify funding needs for the remainder of the year and planned expenditures that can be delayed or eliminated and I have "called back" approximately $1 million in allocated funds that have not yet been used. This "call back" was done with the goal of not endangering our instruction and keeping current employees whole and will keep us within the FY13 budget. Because of our earlier cost containment efforts and the exceptional efforts of our budget managers, these cuts will not be felt by every unit within the University. However, everyone is asked to make every effort to carefully consider expenditures for the remainder of the year.
This budget balancing effort will serve as the foundation for our budget development for the upcoming year and we are currently refining our FY14 planning parameters. This planning will need to be done in the absence of firm information about the impact of expected changes in the State's funding formula and any other restrictions imposed in the State budget, any changes in federal funding resulting from a new budget, and student retention and enrollment for the coming year. Given these, and other, unknowns I expect it will take a long time to develop a budget this year.
As we work to manage this year's enrollment downturn and plan for the future I look forward to the efforts each of you will make to ensure that we are maximizing our resources to serve our central mission. And, I thank you for these efforts as they have been instrumental in our serving our students during the recession.