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BUDGET: Auxiliary services budget reduced by 13 percent


The Central Michigan University seal sits in front of Warriner Hall Aug. 25 on CMU's campus.

(Logo by Madison Skop | Lead Designer)

Central Michigan University's Auxiliary Services budget decreased by 13 percent from the 2019-2020 academic year. 

Auxiliary Services is made up of money-making services CMU provides. While all auxiliary services make money, most require additional funding outside of revenue. These services include campus dining, residence halls, the bookstore, printing services and organized events.

The budget for the 2020-2021 year has decreased by $8 million from the previous year, a 13 percent decrease. There was a 9.2 percent decrease of $7.1 million before the 2019-2020 academic year. 

Executive Director of Financial Planning and Budgets Joe Garrison said this decrease is largely due to COVID-19 and the subsequent decrease of students on campus to fund these services.

Residence halls were more heavily affected than others, as student housing brings in a significant portion of revenue for CMU. Because of lack of student density, fixed costs, utility costs and debt, Residence Life and Auxiliary Services had to pull $3.5 million from reserve funds. 

Garrison described the university pulling from its reserve fund as an "isolated incident."

Despite less students living on campus,  Director of Residence Life Kathleen Gardner said the expenses of residence halls have stayed about the same. 

Buildings need to be cleaned and maintained at the same rate, resulting in residence halls losing revenue which affects when new projects can be introduced.

"When you have fewer students living on campus, you have fewer dollars coming in," Gardner said, "Some projects over the summer will have to be put on hold."

The budget each year is a projection based on enrollment and residence numbers. The decrease of students on campus means a decrease in student spending on things like printing services and university events. 

"Every time we have to make reductions we say, 'how can we do this by minimizing the impact to the student experience?'" Garrison said.

Executive Director of Auxiliary Services Calvin Seelye said decreases in the budget will not impact services like the bookstore. Many services that the bookstore provides have transitioned to be virtual, allowing students both on and off campus to have easier access to class materials.

The CMU Bookstore has been slowly transitioning to virtual inclusive content for some time. Seelye said about 65 to 70 percent of all books are now accessible virtually. This transition helps students have easier access to content but also decreases revenue.

Seelye said auxiliary services continue to function and serve students, prioritizing service over profit from service.

"Our goal is to make student services as easy and accessible as we can." Seelye said.