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University faces $10 million budget deficit


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Lower than expected enrollment for online classes and at satellite campuses has contributed to a $10 million budget deficit now facing Central Michigan University.

“We can determine we’re not going to reach what the actual budget was for main campus or (Global Campus),” said Joe Garrison, director of financial planning and budgets.

Colleges, service units, the finance team and the president’s cabinet will attend an open budget forum at 3:30 p.m. on Oct. 26 in the Charles V. Park Library auditorium. The forum is open to students, faculty and staff. There will be a comment portion when people can ask questions or provide feedback on the budget.

Almost $8 million of the deficit comes from lower than projected tuition revenue with about 70 percent of that coming from online and satellite courses, according to an Our CMU story published on Oct. 18.

Barrie Wilkes, vice president for finance and administrative services, said in a university communications press release that given the budget shortfall, new initiatives this year will usually be funded by the reallocation of funds, as determined at the college or service unit level.

“There will most likely be some cuts done in some shape or form,” Garrison said.

Main campus enrollment was lower than projected, but only by 0.7 percent, said Robert Roe, executive director of Office of Institutional Research. OIR meets with deans of each college and studies trends to configure main campus enrollment projections that the budget is based off of.

“All of us, in every area of the university, need to think strategically about what CMU should be in five or 10 years. We need to figure out how we achieve that with diminishing resources,” Wilkes said in the Our CMU story.

The budget forum is organized by the Budget Priorities Committee, which was created three years ago by the Academic Senate and President George Ross. 

The budget was approved by the Board of Trustees on June 28. It’s based on main campus enrollment projections conducted by OIR, projections of enrollment in online courses and satellite campuses configured by Global Campus, and state appropriation dollars. This year, state appropriations were $1.5 million less than expected. Tuition revenue will be almost $8 million below projections.

“This is a tough time for universities nationwide,” Wilkes said in the Our CMU story. “Tomorrow’s leaders will start off financially strong, as CMU is. They will focus on what students and employers need, as CMU does. And they will make bold decisions, as CMU will do in the coming months.”

Wilkes noted that tuition revenue continues to be impacted by Michigan’s declining high school population as well as by increasing competition in online degree programs.

Even though the university knows it must address the deficit, detailed information is still being gathered, Garrison said.

“We wanted to get in front of it,” Garrison said. “We’re still early in the process. But we encourage and want students to be (at the budget forum).”

Members of the campus community who are not able to attend the forum can submit questions or ideas to the forum on the Budget Priorities Commitee webpage. The forum also will be live streamed.

During the budget forum, an academic dean will be talking about the responsibility centered management budget model CMU uses and how it has worked in the past, Garrison said. There will be time for audience questions.

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Editor-in-Chief Kate Carlson is a senior from Lapeer who is majoring in journalism with a minor in ...

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