December 1, 2010

Goldberg, Van Neck Look at Bleak Budget Picture

At the APAC Budget Forum held Dec. 2, Todd Van Neck, Director of Budget and Program Analysis (left), and Frank Goldberg, Vice Provost for Resource Planning and Management, looked at the State’s and University’s budget picture.
“BUDGET MANAGEMENT at UIC” was the topic of the APAC Budget Forum held Dec. 2 in which speakers Frank Goldberg, Vice Provost for Resource Planning and Management, and Todd Van Neck, Director of Budget and Program Analysis, looked at the State’s and University’s bleak budget picture.
“HIGHER EDUCATION has two major competitors for State dollars,” Goldberg explained, noting those competitors are “primary and secondary education, which has a larger constituency than higher ed, and human services.

“EVEN WITHIN higher ed, there are competitors to four-year universities,” he continued. “One of our competitors is ourselves through the State Universities Retirement System. Because the State has been delaying SURS payments, they have to ramp up payments to the systems with dollars that could go to universities.”

VAN NECK SHOWED a chart of from where the University’s money comes, which included the General Revenue Fund (State money), the income fund (tuition and other revenues), gifts and endowments, grants and contracts, institutional funds, and “self-supporting,” which is a combination of activities such as revenues from the hospital and other health providers on campus. The chart showed that General Revenue Funds have remained flat while other funding sources have been relied on to provide an ever-growing percentage of University funding.

ANOTHER CHART showed State support vs. tuition dollars was $12.8 in State support vs. $1 in tuition in 1970. Now, State support is down to eighty cents vs. every dollar of tuition paid. “Students now bear the majority of cost,” Goldberg said. “Tuition is up because State support is down.”

“DOLLARS FLOWING through here do not have the purchasing power they had in 2002 because of inflation,” Van Neck said.

“IT IS a given that salary increases are good,” Goldberg said, “but raised salaries mean we take more money out of programs. Because we haven’t had a State-funded salary increase since 2002.

“AND, WE are trying to provide the same number of services with fewer people,” he noted.

THE NEXT chart showed that in nominal dollars, funding for colleges within the University has increased, while funding for support units has decreased. But in reality, when adjusted for inflation, funding for both has decreased.

VAN NECK showed a chart of State payments as of Nov. 30 for the last four fiscal years, 2008-2011. By Nov. 30, 2008, the State had paid the University $171 million of what it owed. In 2009, that was $130 million. In 2010, it dropped off to $7 million, and in fiscal 2011, it is $6.6 million.

“THE STATE has become a slow payer,” Van Neck said. “There is not enough revenue in the State coffers to pay its bills. The State says, ‘we know we owe you, but you have to wait.’”

“THAT WAS one of the reasons for the furloughs,” Goldberg said, noting that money that did not go to salaries could be used for bills that had to be paid.

THE FISCAL 2011 budget deficit is projected to be from $12 billion to $15 billion.

“I CANNOT imagine a future by which our budget won’t be cut,” Goldberg said. “I don’t know by how much and when. Will we ever even get the full amount of the FY ’10 appropriation we are owed? I don’t know, and I cannot imagine tuition going up by enough to offset the General Revenue Funds lost.”

GOLDBERG THEN listed ways the University is trying to grapple with the situation. The Administrative Review and Restructuring Committee and five task forces are examining areas in which the University might save money, for example.

“FUNDAMENTAL ISSUES are being grappled with by the Academic Directions Task Force,” Goldberg said. “The task force will provide information to help the University consider what its academic future will be.”

DURING THE question-and-answer period, a member of the audience noted, “We’ve been doing more with less. We can’t cut anymore, but the University gives us less. One of the classrooms has been at 60 degrees for three weeks, because there aren’t enough electricians.”

GOLDBERG REPLIED, “At the highest levels of the University there is a realization that we can’t do all we’ve been doing, which is why they are thinking about ‘reducing our footprint.’ Reducing our footprint will be a painful process, because the need for our services is higher than ever. Our enrollment is the highest ever; the need for our medical services is the highest ever. And even if we eliminated some of the smaller units on campus, it wouldn’t solve the budget problem.

“WE ARE trying to do everything we’ve done in the past with less, and that cannot be done,” he said.

THE UNIVERSITY is “facing a very, very significant problem,” Goldberg concluded. “Up to this point we’ve been able to manage around the problem. What we face now is a serious problem that has to be reckoned with.”

THE POWERPOINT slides from the event are available here:

1 comment:

  1. At the same time the university system is on a starvation diet our "politically correct" Governor is wasting 133 Million dollars on a Peotone airport the state does not now and will never need. "It'll create jobs" he says. I hope those people are happy operating those shovels for another 40 years because without education those are the only jobs they'll get.