The fiscal budget for the academic year of 2015-16 is currently being developed. At this point, the budget team, including Gary Logan, vice president for finance and administration, is working on presenting general budget assumptions, working their way toward an approved budget come May 2015.
“At this stage, we make a presentation on these general budget assumptions, the main drivers on the revenue side, tuition and fees, endowment income and the very big drivers on the expense side; salaries and expenses are around 60 percent departmental expenses, utilities and things like that,” Logan said. “At this point in time we have this five-year outlook; there are no decisions formalized. It is all theoretical.”
One thing Logan is looking at in the upcoming budget is various risk analyses.
“We do these risk analysis about the variability in tuition revenue for instance,” Logan said. “Even if we assume for the time being that we know how much the tuition rates are going to increase there is vast fluctuation that can occur; we are really trying to get people to see right now if these assumptions we have are reasonable.”
Come December Logan, the executive staff, the faculty senate chair and administrative staff members will attend the budget retreat to further develop the budget.
“We look at these [faculty] requests and at that point we have ranked them from the financial people’s side of what we think are the priorities as we understand them based on the strategic plan, our mission and things like that,” Logan said. “We agree or disagree and we haggle over these things and we keep a running tab based on what we think is going to happen on the revenue side; are we in bounds [or] out of bounds based on how we are prioritizing?”
The retreat aims to solidify the budget over the holidays, which then will be presented to the board around January and February.
“We will present an updated set of assumptions to the finance and properties committee of the board around January, February, and those are much tighter and based on real data,” Logan said. “We still don’t have an approved budget; we continue refining that through March, April and we present the budget to the board in May.”
At this point in time, the budget is still on “brown paper” and in the works. As far as upcoming major projects are concerned, aide from dorm renovations, Logan stated that most projects are a few years off.
“Most likely it wouldn’t begin until the summer of 2016, with Chapman and Hallsell are that far off,” Logan said.
However, following a smaller class size in 2013, renovations on North Hall are set for the upcoming spring semester, alongside possible renovations of the Bell Center and athletic fields in the near future.
“We are going to start working this upcoming January, if we get it in on budget, and will be finished up by the end of the academic year,” Logan said.
With smaller past classes, much of North Hall is empty.
“We had a smaller class a year ago so we were able to consolidate students and keep them out of North and do our construction during the academic year instead of the summer.”