The host college of introductory math classes is projecting more than a $2.5 million decline in its budget this year as the number of incoming freshmen continues to shrink.
The College of Science and Technology’s budget is down 4 percent this year, from $62.5 million in 2012-13 to $59.95 million. Dean Ian Davison said the reduction was predicted and that the college must now adjust accordingly.
He said student credit hours at CST are also down 5.3 percent, from 2012’s total of 66,275 credit hours to this year’s 62,777.
“The financial situation is serious,” Davison said. “You must have money to spend on the future. There has been no reduction in quality. It just requires careful planning.”
By reducing the number of fixed-term faculty and creating a budgeting plan based on enrollment, Davison believes a balance can be struck – even if CMU’s student population continues to drop.
“CMU can be a great university if there were 15,000 students,” he said. “There is nothing magical about having 20,000. We get the revenue we get. We’re in a situation where the university has to plan carefully to deal with the reductions. It’s a challenge, not a threat.”
Davison said he sees the numbers continuing to decline. He explained that while majors haven’t begun to feel the pinch at CST yet, they soon will.
“As the university gets smaller, some of the majors are going to shrink,” he said. “Ours haven’t yet, but they will in the next two to three years.”
Davison said CMU budgets funds its various colleges using “Responsibility Centered Management.” Implemented in 2008, RCM allows deans to have a bigger hand in how money is allocated to each department.
“We pushed RCM down to the department level,” he said. “It has become much more efficient than before. The people who are actually responsible for delivery now manage the finances.”
According to Vice Provost of Academic Affairs Ray Christie, RCM allows for greater flexibility when planning the colleges’ respective budgets.
“We allow for flexibility at the dean and department chair level,” Christie said. “A lot of other schools are more top-down.”
Vice President of Finances and Administrative Service David Burdette said funding is directly tied to enrollment, and majors that have a higher demand in the job market will fare better.
“(Funding) is uneven based on distribution of enrollment,” Burdette said. “Depending on enrollment demand, it leads to where we had to trim expenses. It’s a challenge for us. We’re in fix-it mode. We’ll get through this. Universities across the country are up and down.”
Davison is certain that while the next 10 years at CMU might be rocky amid a continued regression of Michigan high school graduates, the quality of education will prevail.
“Although the decline in the number of graduates from Michigan high-schools will continue for well over a decade, I am confident that we can both cope with the financial challenge and maintain the quality of our programs,” he said. “There has been no reduction in quality.”