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Budget numbers better than expected for CMU

Central Michigan University issued a budget update Thursday, describing higher enrollment numbers and smaller budget reductions than initially projected for fiscal year 2015.

According to the update, students enrolled in 9,000 more credit hours than expected, totaling $3 million in additional revenue, leaving the campus-wide deficit at $15 million.

Released by Barrie Wilkes, vice president of finance and administrative services, along with members of the Budget Priorities Committee, the update noted the increased revenue would help offset an $18 million budget gap.

The release also mentioned a $6 million investment in new merit scholarship programs, offering awards to students with lower GPAs and ACT scores to attract more incoming freshmen.

"The Enrollment and Student Services division continues to pursue expanded recruitment and retention efforts," the update read. "These scholarships are expected to attract a greater number of students."

The Budget Priorities Committee also studied a voluntary retirement incentive program, the update said, to offset budget reductions.

Ultimately opposed by the committee due the high cost and uncertainty in CMU's financial future, the incentive program would have been the first since 2003 when the university saw significant layoffs from decreasing state aid.

Co-chaired by Ray Christie, vice chair of academic administration, and English instructor Marcy Taylor, the committee and Wilkes are planning a campus-wide budget forum at 3:30 p.m. on Jan. 22.

Projections for the 2015 budget, the release read, will be refined next spring and summer as the Fall 2014 semester begins.

Check back with Central Michigan Life on Monday for more.