During the last several years, members of this university community have made a fundamental commitment to the prudent and responsible use of the tuition dollars and state funds entrusted to us.
We will, of course, continue to do so but we have experienced a setback in enrollments that carry financial implications. I continue to believe, however, that the hard work of many people during the past three years to erase the deficit and reorganize the university has positioned us to respond to the current enrollment issues, and has prepared us for reinvestments and, eventually, strategic growth.
Based on a four percent decrease in fall credit hours, we are forecasting that tuition and fee revenues will be 2.3 percent, or $1.9 million below budget at the end of the fiscal year on June 30, 2012.
We will offset that $1.9 million using projected savings from unfilled, vacant positions; lower fuel and electricity spending; and revenues from indirect cost recovery, the funds we receive to cover the overhead associated with grants and contracts.
We also are projecting that residence hall revenues could be down by $3.1 million when we close out the fiscal year on June 30. Residence hall operations are entirely supported by room and board revenues, not tuition or the state appropriation. Residence Life expenses are being reduced but we do not expect those spending cuts to be enough to balance this budget.
Consequently, at year end we will use funds from the $2.5 million residence hall reserve fund to cover the remainder of the loss in this budget.
There very well may be ongoing adjustments throughout the year as we address changing circumstances. We have seven months left in the fiscal year to address the situation. In addition to the budgetary actions noted above, new marketing, recruitment and retention efforts are underway, classes are being scheduled in Gorham to satisfy the residential population’s requests, and attention is being paid to ensure that classes have a full complement of students.
Campus leaders throughout the country are grappling with the implications of precipitous decreases in state funding and revenues. Our challenges, of course, are complicated by the decrease in enrollment numbers.
Yet in a time of lingering economic uncertainty, we have a clear responsibility to reaffirm the validity of public higher education to the lives of our citizens. What we do in our classrooms, laboratories, studios and performance venues matters.
I am determined that this university be widely recognized and appreciated as a driving force in the economic, social and cultural future of Greater Portland and beyond.