Budget deficits raise concerns around SCSU

As faculty, staff, and students dive into the 2014-2015 academic year, St. Cloud State University is already being faced with financial adversity between eight to ten million dollars. St. Cloud State University’s 200 million dollar budget will be reduced this year as a result to several different causes.

The main cause of the financial deficit is the decrease of student enrollment over the past three academic years. In relation to the drop in enrollment, the campus’s number of faculty and staff on the universities payroll has remained the same.

With the expected decrease of enrollment this fall, the universities revenue from tuition is expected to be down four to five percent.

In the midst of this financial adversity, Tammy McGee, as well as the rest of the financial and administration department, has already put together an estimated two to three year plan to work the university out of the deficit. Two moves proposed by the financial and administrative department will be implemented starting this fall.

The first course of action that will be implemented by the university is a “flexible hiring freeze.” What this means, is that for this upcoming fiscal year the university will not be hiring anymore faculty or staff. However the university will not take any action against payroll and will not pursue any lay offs.

Second, the university will implement a five percent hold back of all organizations that are non-personnel until spring semester enrollment can be analyzed thoroughly and confirmed. This includes the budget of the universities student government.

Once the fiscal year of 2014 carry-forward balances are confirmed after the completion of the fiscal year end audit, scheduled at the end of October, the university will then start the implementation. In other words, the university will need to see the official numbers of where the university stands financially after the 2014 fiscal year is complete in order to move on to the 2015 fiscal year responsibly.

According to Tammy McGee, Vice President for Finance and Administration, the university should be ready to make changes and to not be worried. Tammy mentioned that she predicts many colleges in the MNSCU system are on a downward slump for enrollment, which she attributes towards the population of baby boomers population not having as many kids. McGee mentioned many adults that are having children are not having as many as the population of adults before them. During the baby boomer era, many more children went to college simply because there were more children in general.

“Our future viability lies in enrollment growth through strategic academic program development.  We will aggressively pursue new program opportunities and expansions where strong student and market demand exists and that align with our current academic program strengths,” said President Earl Potter in an email that was sent to all St. Cloud State University staff.

“In addition, we will continue to invest in student recruitment and retention strategies to build strategic enrollment growth over time.  Student recruitment and student success is everyone’s business. As these growth strategies become clearer and begin to take root, it is imperative that during this time we continue to remain vigilant and exercise fiscal discipline to ensure our forward progress,” Potter said.

McGee stresses to the university that this is an adversity that we can conquer as long as the university stays fiscally disciplined. McGee believes that this is by no means, the beginning to the end of St. Cloud State, just an adversity that the campus will overcome.

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