Budget Reduction Narrative

Addressing UNL's budget deficit

The University of Nebraska—Lincoln is addressing a budget deficit of $4.65 million through its budget reduction and reallocation process. This is the 11th time UNL has worked through a combination of budget reductions and required reallocations since 2001.

The goal is to eliminate the deficit with the least disruption to the university's core academic programs. By completing a $4.65 million budget reallocation—approximately 1 percent of the UNL budget—UNL will begin the next fiscal year with a balanced budget.

Underlying causes of the deficit

The current deficit is the result of a combination of four factors:

  • a $2.2 million budget deficit in the last fiscal year that was carried forward
  • a scheduled reallocation of $800,000 within the Board of Regents approved budget for Fiscal Year 2014
  • larger than expected proportional growth in online student credit hours taken by resident students, and
  • maintenance and operating costs associated with opening new buildings.

A portion of this year's deficit is a result of a greater than expected proportional growth in UNL online courses taken by our resident students. Historically, a significant portion of the tuition from these courses has been designated to enhance online instruction and is not available to fund the base budget of the university. These revenues have allowed an increase in teaching capacity and accommodation of enrollment growth. Campus administrators and deans are working to restructure Distance Education funding to continue to grow online instruction but to allocate a larger portion to support the base budget.

Proposed budget reductions

Chancellor Perlman has announced proposed budget reductions in order to address the deficit. Here are the specific recommendations:

  • Withhold 1 percent of the anticipated 3 percent salary increase pool. Savings: $3.2 million (Vice Chancellors will hold back .75% of all salary increase pools in order to ensure the ability to address instances of highest merit. If enrollment increases in FY 2015 result in revenues that exceed projections, a full or partial reinstatement of the salary pool will be explored for January 2015. In addition, Deans or other administrators who can achieve administrative efficiencies can use these savings for the salary pool of the unit.)
  • Reduce state funding by $425,774 in Student Affairs.
    Reductions in state funded activities are:
    • Four Graduate Assistant positions in Student Affairs ($82,000)
      Other reductions will be accomplished by moving expenses from state funds to student fees. Fee supported units will be required to reduce their operational costs to assure there is no increase in student fees assessed to students. The specific costs to be moved from state funding to student fees are:
    • Associate Vice Chancellor salary and benefits- $96,225
    • Director of Student Involvement partial salary and benefits- $87,033
    • Judicial Affairs -- $160,456
  • Reductions in student fee supported units include:
    • Some Campus Recreation staff funding, including some student group fitness positions and some custodial support. At the same time, increase rental rates of facilities used by non-UNL groups and raise the Recreation Center guest fee from $6 to $10, in keeping with other health club rates. ($150,000 total savings)
    • In the University Health Center, extend the years of use of IT equipment by one to two years, and reduce state support for the travel and training budget by $10,000, for a total of $58,000.
    • Housing and Dining Services: reduction in operating budget of $50,000
    • Support positions in the Nebraska Unions (2.75 FTE; $85,774)
  • Eliminate $318,226 from the Chancellor's discretionary resources used to fund strategic initiatives.
  • Eliminate $200,000 in Academic Affairs' support of college Summer Session programs. Rationale: Summer Session enrollments are up in the colleges.
  • Reduce the frequency of floor burnishing throughout campus from once a week to once a month, reducing staff over time through attrition, savings $100,000.
  • Reduce state support of IANR's Educational Media by $406,000. A task force will make recommendations on how to optimize the use of resources to continue support of communications for IANR going forward. (No decisions have been made about specific changes at this point. An IANR Resource Optimization Task Force will make recommendations.)

Next step

The budget reduction proposals now go to the Academic Planning Committee for review. The APC will make recommendations to the chancellor.