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Release: May 18, 2000

UI president gives response to budget limitations

CEDAR FALLS, Iowa -- At the Board of Regents, State of Iowa meeting today University of Iowa President Mary Sue Coleman discussed progress in developing the FY2001 budget for the university. "The university has a funding problem of $10.7 million that it must address in next year's budget," Coleman told the regents.

Coleman said the funding problem includes a base operating appropriations reduction, salary underfunding, inflationary cost increases, cost of opening the new biology building, engineering expansion and the University Services Building, as well as operating support for the National Advanced Driving Simulator.

Coleman discussed what the university will do to address the budget shortfall. "This is a year of retrenchment, and all budget decisions will be prudently made within the context of our strategic plan. I have developed a list of principles for developing the FY2001 budget." The principles include:

-- The 2000-2005 strategic plan will serve as a guide for all budget reductions and enhancements.

-- Decisions on the best means to manage allocated budget reductions and salary shortfalls will be made within collegiate and administrative units to the greatest extent possible.

-- Salary setting will be in accordance with the salary policy, including meeting the requirements of the collective bargaining agreements and an average budgeted salary adjustment of four percent for faculty and professional and scientific staff.

-- Every effort will be made in budgeting to sustain the ability of students to graduate in a timely fashion through access to appropriate courses.

-- Unit heads will be responsible for taking all reasonable steps to avoid layoffs or furloughs as a result of these budget reductions and will seek opportunities for using attrition or hiring delays to produce needed savings.

-- Student financial aid will be maintained at 16 percent of anticipated tuition revenue.

-- Non-salary price inflation will not be funded -- except for library acquisitions. Library acquisitions will be funded to the degree feasible, but not at the level of actual price inflation nor at the funding level provided in recent years.

-- Commitments to students on the use of tuition derived from the creation of mandatory student activities and services fees will be met without question.

-- Equipment purchases and capital improvement projects cannot be deferred indefinitely, and temporary reductions in these budgets made in FY2000 and FY2001 will need to be restored in FY2002.

-- The strategic planning program review process will be augmented to look for additional reallocation opportunities for FY2002 and beyond.

A decision that has already been made is to postpone the $750,000 renovation of Phillips Hall Auditorium, a 300-seat classroom that needs substantial renovation. The work will be postponed until additional funding becomes available. Other deferred projects include the replacement of a $332,000 heating, ventilating and air conditioning system for Gilmore Hall, as well as $300,000 in general classroom and campus improvements. Likewise, a decision was made to postpone the replacement of the Recreation Building floor which was to cost approximately $800,000.

Coleman reiterated her commitment to students regarding use of tuition revenue generated from the creation of a $76 mandatory student services and activities fee. These funds were generated to support the library, help with instructional equipment, support student financial aid and to meet similar students' needs.

In concluding her discussion about the budget, Coleman appealed to everyone interested in the future of the university to tell their local legislators to support Iowa's public universities. "I hope this year is a wake-up call to all Iowans. Our public universities are indeed precious resources. It is absolutely critical that students, parents, alumni, and friends of the university add their voices to the discussion over the state's support of public higher education."

Details of the University of Iowa's budget for FY2001 will be presented to the Board of Regents, State of Iowa at its June meeting.