President's Campus Communication 4/14/09

Dear Colleagues,

The latest news about state funding is a bit more encouraging than what we’ve been hearing for the past couple of weeks. Gov. Bill Ritter has announced a plan that would use federal stimulus funding to keep the state higher education budget at the original FY09 appropriation level through FY11. Assuming the plan goes forward, we would essentially get a two-year reprieve from cuts and receive flat funding during that time. This will allow us to make deliberate, strategic decisions about how to address inevitable cuts to our state funding in FY12.

The Governor’s plan responds to the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act requirement that states fund higher education to at least the FY06 level in order to qualify for federal stimulus funding. Cutting an additional $300 million from the state higher education budget as recently proposed by the Joint Budget Committee would disqualify Colorado from receiving $760 million in federal funds.

Higher education still faces a $150-million cut, but it would be backfilled with stimulus funds in FY10 and FY11. Meanwhile, legislators face a difficult task of finding another source for the FY10 state budget shortfall of at least $300 million.

What this means for UNC is an opportunity to complete the multi-year financial plan we began working toward earlier this year. We must be strategic about the things within our control, such as recruiting and retaining students, and investing in financial aid that both optimizes enrollment and maximizes revenue. We must also redouble our campus efforts to find cost savings and identify crucial investments.

We are moving forward with developing UNC’s FY10 budget by focusing on the things we can control and developing contingencies to address the unknowns. We are using the ideas about revenue generation, strategic investments and cost-savings submitted by campus budget leaders to develop multiple budget scenarios. We do not yet know to what extent the state will limit our pricing flexibility, so we are developing cost-of-attendance and revenue scenarios based on the fees and tuition differentials proposed by campus and a range of tuition increases.

I appreciate all that you have been doing to hold us steady in these uncertain times and look forward to progressing together.


Kay Norton