FY 2014 Budget Update

Monday, July 1st, 2013

Dear UNI family,

The 2014 fiscal year begins today, and I want to apprise you of the current General Fund budget at the University of Northern Iowa. As an important first step, last week I met with leadership from Faculty Senate, United Faculty, the Professional & Scientific Council, the Supervisory & Confidential Council and the Northern Iowa Student Government to discuss the status of our budget.

We are grateful for the bipartisan support from the governor and the legislature this spring. We will receive an additional $2.1 million in state appropriation permanent base funding, bringing our total base funding to $83 million. However, we are still funded at a base level that is $15 million less than the FY 2009 base level of $98 million. In addition, we will receive $10 million in one-time state funds; $6 million will be allocated for this year and $4 million for FY 2015.

We also received funding specifically designated for the following items:

  • $5.2 million for the governor’s STEM initiative that is led by UNI (an increase of $500,000)

  • $175,000 for our Recycling and Reuse Center (level funding)

  • $125,000 for our Real Estate Education program (level funding)

  • $1 million for Economic Development efforts led by UNI (an increase of $500,000)

  • $900,000 to support entrepreneurship, business expansion and regional development (level funding)

  • $1 million for a 3-D printer for UNI’s Metal Casting Center; funding is within the appropriation for the Cedar Valley TechWorks

Our General Fund primarily consists of state appropriations and tuition revenue. We will have an additional $8.1 million in state appropriations for FY 2014; however, tuition revenue is projected to be $2.5 million less than originally estimated, and we have to address the $3.6 million tuition revenue shortfall from FY 2013. Therefore, we must resolve a total tuition revenue shortfall of $6.1 million coupled with an increase in salary and benefit costs of $4.9 million this year.

We have reduced our utilities budget and allocated funds from a strategic initiatives and enrollment contingency account to decrease the projected FY 2014 budget shortfall by $2.4 million. The result is that even with $8.1 million in state appropriations, we are projecting to begin FY 2014 with a shortfall of $590,000 that will need to be solved this year. Student enrollment is crucial. If we enroll 100 more students than our projected 11,800, we will have addressed our budget shortfall in the short term. Each additional 100 students increases our net tuition revenue by approximately $550,000.

We have implemented measures to strengthen our student recruitment efforts immediately. We will:

  • hold Open Houses this fall and spring

  • conduct more high school visits

  • engage more alumni in our student recruitment efforts

  • continue our fundraising efforts to meet our goal of $40 million for student financial aid funds, of which $10.7 million has already been secured

The receipt of the $6 million one-time funding serves as critical bridge funding for this year. It is essential that we work with our legislators and governor to not only make this funding permanent, but increase it.

This fall we also look forward to a review of the allocation of state appropriations to the Regent universities. This important work will be performed by an Allocation Task Force, chaired by former Regent David Miles with participation from Regent Katie Mulholland. With 92% of our students from Iowa, 75% of our students demonstrating financial need and 61% of our alumni residing in Iowa, we are the Iowa comprehensive university preparing Iowa’s future workforce and spurring innovative economic development throughout Iowa. The equitable distribution of future state appropriations is imperative to advancing our goals and objectives.

I appreciate your efforts to be good stewards of our resources as we continually plan for a constantly changing budgetary environment. We face some challenges as we work to convert one-time funds to permanent state funds, increase student enrollment and continue our fundraising endeavors, but I am confident that collaboratively, we will be persistent and successful in our efforts.

Purple for life!

Bill Ruud