Oct. 26 budget forum sheds critical light on planning efforts

​​Leaders across campus begin work to address $10 million budget deficit while creating university of the future.

An Oct. 26 budget forum comes as leaders from the colleges, service units, the finance team and the president's cabinet begin planning to offset a $10 million budget deficit.

State appropriations were nearly $1.5 million less than expected and tuition revenue will be almost $8 million below projections, with about 70 percent of the shortfall in online and satellite-location courses.

"All of us, in every area of the university, need to think strategically about what CMU should be in five or 10 years. And we need to figure out how we achieve that with diminishing resources," said Barrie Wilkes, vice president for finance and administrative services.

"This is a tough time for universities nationwide. Tomorrow's leaders will start off financially strong, as CMU is. They will focus on what students and employers need, as CMU does. And they will make bold decisions, as CMU will do in the coming months," he said.

Wilkes noted that tuition revenue continues to be impacted by Michigan's declining high school population as well as by increasing competition in the online realm.

The fact that CMU's freshman class is slightly larger than last year attests to the university's academic strengths, recruitment efforts from the admissions team and across campus, and its marketing strategies, he said. At the same time, smaller freshman classes in 2012 and 2013 continue to hurt revenue.

The budget forum is organized by the Budget Priorities Committee, which was created by the Academic Senate and President George E. Ross three years ago. The event is open to the campus community and begins at 3:30 p.m. in Park Library Auditorium.

It will include an overview by college deans of budget procedures and decision-making authority under CMU's responsibility centered management model, with time allotted for audience questions. Faculty, staff and students may submit questions in advance via the BPC webpage.

Joe Garrison, director of financial planning and budgets, notes three key documents posted online for campus review:

  • The new funding request form provides an opportunity for departments and teams across campus to submit proposals for new initiatives or programs.

Wilkes notes that given the budget shortfall, new initiatives this year usually will be funded by the reallocation of funds, as determined at the college or service unit level.