IUP faces $5.8 million budget shortfall
May 17, 2013 11:00 AM

Indiana University of Pennsylvania President Dr. Michael Driscoll told the university’s Council of Trustees Thursday that IUP students face a possible 3 percent tuition increase from the State System of Higher Education’s Board of Governors in July.

Driscoll also said even with that 3 percent increase in tuition revenue, and assuming the university will have an enrollment of 15,000 and the appropriation from the state remains flat, IUP will have a projected shortfall for the 2013-14 fiscal year of nearly $5.8 million.

Still, Driscoll described the university as “financially solid,” adding “relatively modest cuts” to the budget would be needed.

“We have adequate resources. We’ll continue to serve students,” he said.

“We’re all committed to maintaining a balanced budget,” Driscoll said, so IUP must identify nearly $4 million worth of budget reductions in the next 45 days. Given that limited time, the budget cuts will need to be a mix of strategic and opportunistic items, he said.

The vice presidents of the various divisions at IUP were given budget reduction targets proportional to each division’s educational and general operating budget. Those target reductions range from $54,000 for the president’s own office to more than $3 million for the Academic Affairs Division.

The budget reduction options — including leaving vacant positions unfilled, increasing efficiency in some operations and moving some expenses to other revenue streams — have been submitted and are now being evaluated.

One increase in revenue will come from an increase in the student service fee formally approved by the trustees on Thursday. The fee will rise by $3 per credit hour, from $9 per credit hour to $12 per credit hour for undergraduate students, and from $6 per credit hour to $9 per credit hour for graduate students.

The trustees also authorized the administration to pursue the purchase of 3.5 acres of land along South 13th Street. The land is known as the Beck Machine property and is owned by Gerald Pike.

Mark Geletka, associate vice president for facilities management, said there is no immediate planned use for the property if it is purchased, but it fits into the university’s long-range plan and adjoins other IUP property.

Appraisals on its value are now being made.

Also during the long day of meetings between trustees and university administrators:

n Michael Husenits, director of admissions, said IUP is coming off four consecutive years of record enrollments, but that is not going to continue next year. The number of freshman applications is down 690 from this time last year. But the average SAT scores of the applicants is even with last year at about 998, he said.

James Begany, vice president for enrollment management and communications, expects a “trough” in 2015-16 when the enrollment decline will bottom out.

Begany and Husenits explained how using available grant money to discount tuition amounts by $2,000 or $2,500 per year for some eligible students has been successful this year in persuading many students to move from a status of being “admitted” to a status of having “registered” to start classes.

n Dr. Cornelius Wooten, vice president for administration and finance, said the Student Government Association is working with the administration and Indiana Borough officials on a student pedestrian safety campaign. It will involve education and awareness but perhaps also some physical changes to make walking on and near campus safer.

Wooten also said a “table-top” safety exercise is being planned for June to allow IUP cabinet members to assess their readiness to respond to emergencies. The exercise, he said, is partly in response to incidents that have happened recently around the nation.

He also told the trustees the university’s fleet of about 20 vehicles used by faculty and staff for travel on and off campus may be replaced by vehicles rented from Enterprise.

And he anticipates that by June 1 the Kovalchick Convention and Athletic Complex’s revenues will roughly match the facility’s operational expenditures.

Samuel Phillips, the assistant vice president for administration business and hospitality services, said the KCAC had a “great performance for its first year.” There were 316 events at the KCAC during the fiscal year that ended June 30, 2012, and through April of this fiscal year there have already been 320 events in the KCAC, Phillips said.

And Mary Morgan, who also works in the alumni relations office, said the office now has 108,532 “reachable” alumni, 44,000 of them through their email addresses.

The university this year has received about $100,000 through online gifts, she said.

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