University's budget deficit now estimated at $14 million
Ross outlines four keys for continued success; Trustees approve online degree program
Central Michigan University is facing a $14 million budget shortfall, according to new projections.
University President George Ross announced the revised budget deficit numbers on Thursday, Feb. 16 at the formal meeting of the CMU Board of Trustees in the President's Conference Room at the Bovee University Center.
Ross said efforts to make budget and based-budget cuts are "real and difficult."
Vice President of Finance and Administrative Services Barrie Wilkes said CMU will fix the deficit through a variety of means. In the finance division, a number of positions will remain vacant to generate "salary savings," Wilkes said. Reserves will be used to cover the shortfall this fiscal year, ending June 30. For July 1, departments across campus will need to make "base-budget reductions," he said.
Wilkes said cuts will vary by college and program area.
The budget deficit was originally estimated at $9.8 million and later revised to $10.6 million once CMU officials verified the university's fall semester enrollment. The revised $14 million estimate includes spring enrollment and the projection for the summer semesters.
"Once we knew what spring enrollment was, which was a couple weeks ago, we worked those numbers and found out that spring was coming in at below what were we estimating," Wilkes said.
CMU will attempt to balance the operating budget going into next year, Ross said. The cuts help CMU to identify, protect and invest in priority programs and services, which include student recruitment and services to help students succeed. They also include the capital campaign which is a "fiscal necessity," Ross said.
Ross focused on four keys for CMU's continued success during the meeting, the first of the spring 2017 semester. Aside from budget planning, Ross said enrollment management, strategic planning and equity and inclusion will take precedence.
Managing enrollment concerns
Ross noted the decline of high school students in the state when discussing enrollment management as a means of curbing future budget concerns. The two states with the largest decrease in high school students are New Hampshire and Michigan, Ross explained.
The fall 2016 freshman class at CMU had 30 more students than the previous year, Ross said. Transfers were down more than 200 students. That decline mirrors the decreasing enrollment seen across the state's community colleges.
Ross also raised concerns about international student enrollment after recent executive actions by President Donald Trump. There were 1,200 international students enrolled last fall, which represents $17 million in tuition revenue. Ross said CMU anticipates those numbers to decline.
“Recruitment is a forever campaign,” Ross said. “The competition is intense. All of us — admissions, marketing teams, faculty and staff — have combined forces in recent years to keep enrollment relatively high. Now we will redouble our efforts.”
Ross said Provost Michael Gealt, Academic Senate Chairperson Melinda Kreth, trustee Rick Studley and faculty, staff and student members of the Strategic Planning Committee are circulating a first draft of a plan that includes three goals: student success, promoting scholarships and developing and strengthening community and corporate partnerships.
The first draft is expected to be completed by the next Board of Trustees meeting in April.
“We look forward to your feedback, your input and your wisdom as we finalize our strategic direction,” Ross said.
Addressing issues of inclusion
CMU’s ad-hoc equity and inclusion recommendation team will be finalized next week, Ross said. The team will review CMU’s assessment report and survey data from the past few years, current and future needs and alignment of resources. It will evaluate initiatives and programs and how CMU is structured as to develop recommendations for Ross.
Ross opened his address by discussing last week’s incident involving an anti-Semitic Valentine distributedon campus. Ross praised the efforts of individuals who helped with the inquiry and faculty and student leaders for their support.
“Ignorance is no excuse. Lack of an intent is no excuse,” Ross said. “In that instance, we were reminded that education must teach us how to be beacons of peace, respect, inclusivity and civility.”
Ross also discussed last week’s FCC spectrum auction. CMU sold its Flint public television station for $14 million after purchasing it for $1 million in 2009. Ross said the deciding factor was that 99 percent of Flint viewers live in areas also served by other public broadcasting stations. Still, CMU’s commitment to public broadcasting remains strong, he said.
Ross also recognized St. Clair Shores senior Ben Moxon, one of more than 1,500 students who have participated in CMU's phonathon during the past 19 years. The students have raised nearly $9.5 million in pledges and gifts. Moxon has secured more than $96,000 in pledges and gifts, which is the fourth-highest amount.
The board approved that Ross is authorized to ratify and sign collective bargaining agreements for 2017-18 and beyond on behalf of trustees with the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees, Local 1568, Council No. 25 (AFSCME) for service maintenance employees and the Police Officers Association of Michigan (POAM) for police employees.
Trustees approved all items on the consent agenda, including the creation of Master of Entrepreneurial Transactions degree. The program will be offered online. Trustees also changed the name of the department of Foreign Languages, Literatures and Cultures to the department of World Languages and Cultures.
Robert K. Martin, vice president for advancement, issued CMU’s contributions quarterly report, which represented $7.3 million in gifts. CMU is at $9.6 million for the year.
Trustees also accepted a $5 million research rewards report received during the second quarter of the fiscal year.
Joyce Baugh, professor of Political Science and Public Administration; Stan Mandziuk, electrical project manager for plant engineering and planning; and Daniel Vetter, senior associate dean of business administration, were promoted to emeritus rank. There were seven promoted overall, but Baugh, Mandziuk and Vetter were those in attendance.