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Tuition surcharge approved; temporary layoffs update

Friday, December 11th, 2009

Faculty and staff,

In challenging economic times, our entire campus community feels the impact.

The 10-percent across-the-board state appropriation reduction announced in October challenged the university's budget further.  Faculty, staff and students have been asked for their support to meet this new and unprecedented budget demand.

On Oct. 29, the Board of Regents, State of Iowa, approved UNI's plan to reduce the budget. Part of that plan is to conduct temporary layoffs (unpaid leave) among all employee groups in fiscal 2010. The underlying principle is that all employee groups be treated equally in solving UNI's budget problem.

In November, AFSCME voted to approve taking five days of unpaid time off during fiscal 2010. UNI Human Resource Services (HRS) will communicate details about the unpaid leave for AFSCME employees early next week.

In a survey of P&S employees earlier this fall, employees indicated temporary layoffs were a favorable and equitable way to assist in solving the UNI budget problem. Academic administrators, institutional officials, professional & scientific and merit supervisory & confidential employees will move forward with temporary layoffs on a graduated plan of three, five, seven or nine temporary layoff days, depending on salary, during fiscal 2010. It is slightly different than that first announced in October. HRS will communicate details about the temporary layoff days for these employee groups soon.

HRS is working through the specific details that would allow employees of the above-mentioned employee groups to use temporary layoff days during the holiday season, if desired. UNI administration is still working with United Faculty.

Yesterday, the Board of Regents approved a one-time tuition surcharge of $100 for the spring 2010 semester. This surcharge will generate $1 million for UNI, which amounts to approximately 11 percent of our most recent $8.8 million budget cut. We recognize the financial challenges facing our students, and the decision to implement the surcharge took into consideration the extra demand this places on students. We are committed to directing this revenue solely to instruction, financial aid and student-service support to sustain a quality-learning environment.

Lastly, the budget estimates provided today by the Revenue Estimating Conference suggest further challenges for fiscal 2011, likely even more so than fiscal 2010. Using federal stimulus funds and temporary budget solutions, like temporary layoffs and TIAA-CREF employer contribution reductions, to help us through this fiscal year will require more permanent reductions and changes to the university for the coming year.

While there are still several moving pieces involved in solving UNI's budget problem and the challenges are not likely to diminish soon, the university community is faced with an opportunity to refocus and reprioritize. Thank you for your commitment to solving UNI's budget problem together as a community, focused on the priorities of the institution.

Ben Allen