University’s budget ‘dodged a big bullet’

The university has received its budget for this fiscal year. However, unlike the two fiscal years before it, staggering financial cuts are all but absent. Instead of the projected $16-$19 million in losses, Southeastern has to cope with approximately $4 million in cuts this fiscal year.

“We dodged a big bullet in not having to reduce resources, mainly staff, that would affect student services,” said Vice President of Administration and Finance Stephen Smith. “Looking back six months ago, we’re grateful for where we are. We expected a more severe situation, but as the budget process continued things started to look better.”

The University of Louisiana System (ULS) received the budget numbers late in the afternoon on July 14 from the Board of Regents. Soon after, it passed the information along to its member universities, which includes Southeastern. Now that the university has this information it is undergoing its own budget process.

Deans of each college will submit a budget request to each vice president. The budget resources needed by the university will be determined and then sent to the ULS for review. The university will then submit electronic documents detailing its budget requests to the ULS office during the first week of August. Hard copies will follow a week or two later in time for the ULS’s August meeting. During that meeting, the budget will be reviewed and changes may be made.

While the budget is being reviewed, not all of the campus will be able to access it’s appropriated funds. Currently, the university has the opportunity to request and receive its funds from the State Treasury, though only for daily operation.

According to Smith, the university is not planning on becoming more aggressive or lax in it’s spending habits. Instead it will take a “middle road” approach to redistribute resources to help meet GRAD Act requirements. By fulfilling those requirements, Southeastern will become eligible for additional financial resources down the road that will help the university maintain its financial balance.

The news of this year’s budget has been well-received by the campus, giving feelings of relief and a desire for progress.

“I think every higher education institution breathed a sigh of relief,” said Erin Moore Cowser, executive director of publications and government affairs. “Dr. Crain has done well to keep everything in the context that now is the time to move forward from relatively level ground.”

More information regarding the budget can be found in a message to the university from President Crain on the Office of the President’s Web site located at http://www.selu.edu/admin/president/messages/2011/071811.html.