APC Recommendations for Budget Reduction - Fiscal Year 2003-04 & 2004-05 Budget Reduction Process

APC Recommendations re. Phase Two budget Reduction Proposals
OCTOBER 15, 2003

Barry T. Rosson, Professor of Civil Engineering, Chair, Academic Planning Committee
University of Nebraska-Lincoln
The Academic Planning Committee’s deliberations on budget reductions have been guided, as in previous budget reduction considerations, by the General Issues Section of the Procedures to be Invoked for Significant Budget Reallocations and Reductions adopted February 10, 1993.

The Committee discussed approaches to the budgetary crisis and is of the general opinion that more focus on revenue enhancement to meet the reductions rather than exclusive focus on reductions could be helpful. To that end, it passed the following resolution:

In almost all cases where circumstances beyond a student’s control are involved, the appropriate grade is an Incomplete. There is no cost associated with an Incomplete.

The very generous withdrawal policy of the University justifies either the levy of a fee for repeating a course or a fee for withdrawals. The APC proposes a fee for repeating a course in the amount of $50.00, in addition to tuition. Those declaring a semester of academic bankruptcy will have no fees assessed.

Since students still have a large part of their educational costs supplemented by state tax support, the Committee believes that course retakes are a financial burden that should be more substantially shared by those students availing themselves of this option. Approximately 3,600 students each year repeat a course. This does not include students repeating courses that are intended for multiple registrations and does not include incomplete grades. Students who have legitimate reasons for not completing a course are held free by the incomplete, which is also designed to deal with situations beyond a student's control. The generous withdrawal policy of the university also makes it unnecessary for a student to stay in a course where their performance is poor. Therefore students repeating a course in which they previously withdrew would not be assessed the fee. Since only retakes at the university are of additional cost to the institution, retakes at other universities would not be considered. The suggested fee was set low but, even then, would generate about $180,000 annual income. Higher fees would not be unreasonable and, of course, provide higher yield. The fee has the advantage of assessing only those students who are using the resources of the university beyond the norm and it may encourage better performance the first time courses are taken. In summary, the proposed fee would only be charged for students who received a grade, other than I or W, and then repeated the course at UNL.

The Academic Planning Committee concurs with the following budget reduction proposals:


Downsize administrative support in offices reporting to the Chancellor: $39,534 savings from salary differential on hiring new Director of Institutional Research and Planning, and endorsement of the elimination of the clerical line in Equity, Access and Diversity.
[2] Reduce Operating Program Support in the Chancellor's Office: $230,335 generated by integrated marketing, consolidation of advertising, reduced support for Speakers' Bureau and the Scarlet.
[3] Reduce Funding for the Dean of College of Arts and Sciences Areas of Strength Program: $50,000.
[4] Restructure of the Russian Language Program and elimination of the Portuguese Language Program: $119,684.
[5] Reduce the Dean's Office funding, College of Engineering and Technology: $51,000 reduction of travel funds, administration and academic program support.
[6] Eliminate the College of Engineering and Technology Undergraduate Equipment Fund: $500,000 to be replenished by student fees.
[7] Eliminate the Industrial Systems Technology Department and accompanying degree programs: $654,128.
[8] Restructure the Radiation Safety Program: $250,000.
[9] Eliminate the Department of Health and Human Performance and the Student Advisor in the Student Services Center (former Teachers College): $959,442.
[10] Downsize the Engineering Extension Service in the College of Engineering and Technology: $192,518.
[11] Eliminate funding for the two coordinator positions in the College of Architecture: $128,223. Although the APC supported these cuts, members of the committee were quite concerned about the possible negative effects on undergraduate students and the ability of the College of Architecture to continue to reach out with assistance to rural Nebraska communities.
The Academic Planning Committee does not concur with the proposed budget reduction to transfer the day programs of the Omaha-site day programs in the College of Education and Human Sciences (formerly the College of Human Resources and Family Sciences) to Lincoln. Although this proposed transfer would result in a budget savings of $233,388, the mix of degree options appears to be successful and a good use of financial resources given the number of faculty and staff devoted to the effort. The university and community have benefited greatly by the programs offered in Omaha, especially for non-traditional and under-represented students.

The contingency fund of $355,341 for restructuring in the Senior Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs office was regarded to be a reserve and not a debit. Action on this by the APC was not deemed necessary.

With these actions, the Academic Planning Committee has endorsed $3,174,864 in reductions of the 2003-2005 biennium budget.