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Board of Trustees discusses University budget

The Board of Trustees discussed the current and future University budget at their meeting last Thursday.

While the budget has increased over the past years, the proposed budget for the fiscal year 2015 will be decreased, Chief Financial Officer Sherri Stoll said.

Fiscal year 2014’s budget was about $403 million and the budget for 2015 is proposed to be about $394 million—nearly a $9 million decrease in spending.

Initially, the University was projecting a $7.7 million deficit, but the budget is now balanced.

One of the ways the University was able to decrease spending is by drawing students to the University and retaining them, bringing in revenue.

One of the strategies used to do this was to put a hold on tuition, Stoll said.

“Certainly it would have earned more money, but it sends a good message,” she said.

The University is also looking to help students create more strong memories and bonds with the campus, Jill Carr, vice president of student affairs, said.

Carr said the student orientation, advising and registration (SOAR) program is important in this process.

“[SOAR is] a key entry program … that helps build that strong connection,” she said.

She praised the program and its student leaders and said according to surveys, 96 percent of parents are satisfied with the program.

The University is also focusing on improving operational efficiency and reducing costs of operating.

Funding from the state is another source of revenue for the University, Stoll said.

However, the University has been earning less state funding in the past years because the state has changed its standards.

Instead of funding being based on the “input,” or enrollment, the state now funds based on the “output,” or students leaving with degrees, Stoll said.

This year the University earned 23 percent of its funding through state appropriations, compared with 31.6 percent in 2010.

Stoll said there are still challenges ahead for the University seeking to decrease its spending.

“There are still challenges with the recovery that’s been happening over the last couple of years,” she said.

The board approved a three-year extension of President Mazey’s contract. Her current contract runs for two years, which means she will continue at the University through June 2019, David Kielmeyer, University spokesperson, said.

Mazey will also receive a 1 percent increase in salary, or an increase of about $4,000.

During the meeting, the board also approved replacement of Greek housing, a $30 million dollar project.

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