DATE: June 18, 2009
Brett Dalton, 864-656-2421
Robin Denny, 864-656-3061
Clemson announces plan to manage $45.7 million budget cut
Calling it “a responsible, strategic plan that protects academic quality and minimizes impact on students,” Clemson University President James F. Barker Thursday (June 18) laid out the school’s plan to manage the multimillion-dollar cut in state funding at a board of trustees meeting in Columbia.
“This plan manages funding reductions, protects quality and includes a reasonable and affordable tuition proposal,” he said. “It is a plan that is responsible to the state, to families who trust us with their future and mostly to students who come to Clemson with high expectations. We need to deliver.“
The state budget for 2009-2010 cuts Clemson’s appropriation by $40.7 million. Education and General (E&G) programs were cut by $26.8 million and Public Service Activities (PSA) by $13.9 million. Another $5 million cut came in private support from the Clemson University Foundation.
To offset the total funding loss of $45.7 million, the university will make almost $30 million in internal budget cuts by eliminating more than 450 positions, reorganizing and consolidating some departments, moving more programs to self-generated funding and other means.
Trustees approved (11-2) using a portion of federal stimulus funding to keep the tuition and fee increase for in-state students to 4.5 percent. Out-of-state fees will rise 7.5 percent. The additional tuition revenue will offset about a third of the lost funding.
In announcing the fee increase, board chairman Bill Hendrix said, “Clemson faces a loss of at least $45 million in revenue next year. We will cover two-thirds of that — about $30 million — through aggressive and sometimes painful internal budget cuts and reallocations.
“Without this cost-cutting and the use of federal stimulus funds, we would have needed a tuition increase of 26 percent to cover the shortfall. Yet with the steps we approved today, Clemson will be able to maintain academic gains and momentum while keeping tuition and fee increases to a reasonable 4.5 percent for in-state students and 7.5 percent for non-residents.”
Another portion of the stimulus dollars will help fund a long-planned renovation of Lee Hall, a 51-year-old classroom and studio building that houses architecture and visual arts programs. Without the stimulus aid, tuition would need to go up even more to help fund the Lee Hall work.
The PSA budget also received $2.5 million in federal stimulus funds, which will be used to support operations while organizational restructuring plans are being implemented.
The fee increase amounts to $234 per semester for in-state students and $878 per semester for out-of-state students. These amounts include mandatory fees specifically requested by students to offset the loss of state funding for student activities, campus recreation and career services.
About a third of the positions being eliminated were vacant at the beginning of the fiscal year when a hiring freeze took effect. Many others are temporary and contract positions or are filled with people who plan to retire at the end of June. Clemson offered two retirement-incentive programs to encourage attrition, which were accepted by 77 employees.
“A budget cut of this magnitude could not be managed without losing positions. The hiring freeze and voluntary retirement-incentive programs minimized the negative impact on individuals,” Barker said.
Barker said the internal budget cuts were strategic rather than across-the-board, reflecting efforts to “protect the academic core of the university.” Most administrative and support units had double-digit budget cuts while cuts to college budgets were less than 5 percent.
The libraries and the Academic Success Center were spared from budget cuts, and police and fire department staffing will remain at current levels. Auxiliary units such as athletics, housing and dining services did not receive budget cuts but will increase contributions to cover centrally provided support services.
Many of the strategies used to cover budget cuts were recommended by a group of task forces appointed by Barker in December 2008.
“I am confident that we have approved a responsible, prudent and strategic plan today that addresses our current funding crisis,” Hendrix said. “It protects academic quality, minimizes the impact on students and builds a foundation for our long-term recovery.”