A Message from the President
July 1, 2010 - Campus Update
Based on information from the Board of Regents and University of Louisiana System, we now have a somewhat clearer picture of Southeastern’s operating budget for the 2010-11 fiscal year that begins today. Taking into account mandatory cost increases, a five percent tuition increase, and a reduction in our State appropriation, we anticipate an initial net shortfall of approximately $4 million.
In addition, there remain several unknown factors that could further impact our resources in the new fiscal year. For example, significant reductions to the budgets of both the University of Louisiana System and the Board of Regents could negatively impact certain pass through items that ultimately affect our budget. Also, while the potential tuition increases under the LA GRAD Act could result in some additional revenues, it is not yet clear when the processes for negotiating and executing the required performance contracts will be established and the resulting additional tuition increases implemented. Finally, there continues to be growing concern about the negative impact of the Gulf oil spill on the State’s economy and tax base, potentially resulting in further revenue shortfalls and mid-year reductions to operating budgets of State agencies, including higher education.
For these reasons, we will immediately begin implementing additional campus budget reductions. As you are well aware, Southeastern has absorbed nearly $16 million in budget cuts over the last eighteen months, with most categories of operating funds (travel, supplies, repairs, maintenance, etc.) already having been significantly reduced or eliminated. Unfortunately, this means additional reductions going forward will have a significant impact on our people.
We expect that personnel reductions in the immediate future will involve nearly fifty classified and unclassified positions across all divisions. This number also includes the early retirement of a number of tenured faculty, with subsequent elimination of their vacated positions.
While I regret these decisions that negatively impact the lives of our colleagues, these actions are necessary to ensure the continued financial viability of our University. I fully understand how difficult it is to maintain a positive and productive attitude in light of these ongoing challenges and uncertainty. However, as I have told many of you in face-to-face meetings and conversations, we must continue to remind ourselves that none of the challenges facing us are the result of actions or choices by our students.
Record numbers of academically well-prepared students continue to enroll at Southeastern, seeking an outstanding education and the resulting brighter future for themselves and their families. Despite our frustrations and tribulations, which are attributable to our State’s and institution’s financial distress, we must remain committed to the success of our students.