Boren warns faculty, staff more budget cuts likely next year
OU colleges may face another round of budget cuts next fiscal year as the university prepares its budget amid a stalled economy and uncertain state funding.
President David Boren has asked budget managers to anticipate potential cuts of 2 to 5 percent, according to a letter from his office sent to faculty and staff.
These cuts would come in the form of reallocations, which is when the university moves money from the central budget to help pay for fixed-cost increases, said Chris Kuwitzky, associate vice president and chief financial officer. The university is facing an estimated $9 million increase of fixed costs.
Fixed costs are unavoidable increases in health insurance, utilities and other things such as scholarship waivers, Kuwitzky said in an email.
Anticipating budget cuts should give colleges enough time to make the best plans that have the least negative impact on students, Kuwitzky said.
“What you want to do, obviously, is minimize impact to students,” Kuwitzky said.
This academic year, students felt the impact of a 5-percent tuition increase as the university dealt with increased costs and decreases in state funding. Students were hit with a 4.5-percent tuition increase during academic year 2010-2011.
The last four years of cuts haven’t been kind to colleges and departments, which have lost about 12 percent of their budgets, according to the letter. These cuts have resulted in increased assignments and responsibilities for existing staff.
The university won’t know what impact students, faculty and staff will feel from next year’s potential cuts for another six months, Kuwitzky said. Right now, everything is an estimation, and colleges and departments are being asked to plan ahead, he said.