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A special e-mail message from President Coleman...

April 20, 2001


Members of the University community:

As you well know, The University of Iowa is facing a budget reduction of 6 percent — perhaps more — in its state appropriation for fiscal year 2002. Even at 6 percent, this is the largest single budget reduction we have ever faced.

We still await final word from our state governmental leaders on the actual amount. Until we have that information, we cannot finish making the hard decisions on where to make the cuts. However, with the actions taking place this week in the Legislature, the outlines of a budget resolution are emerging.

In the meantime, as promised in an earlier e-mail on this subject, we have drafted the following principles for responding to the anticipated reductions. These principles will guide University administrators in making budget decisions for FY 2002. They were developed under the assumption that the reduction in the University’s state appropriation would be about 6 percent — the reduction in the Governor’s revised budget and what is currently reflected in the education appropriations bill. Changes may be warranted if state appropriations vary from this assumption, especially if the state’s salary policy is not fully funded from state appropriations.

The principles were developed through on-going consultation with the vice presidents and deans, a special budget committee composed of faculty and staff, and the President’s Council on Strategic Implementation.

Principles for Developing FY 2002 General Education Fund Budgets

1. The 2000-2005 University of Iowa strategic plan and core values will provide the framework for developing the University’s response to the current budget situation. In this context and until the budget situation is stable, the focus should be on preserving strength and supporting the most vital missions of the University.

2. The President and University administrators will seek input from faculty, staff and student leaders on budget reductions and allocations of reductions across units as well as in identifying potential cost savings.

* Communication with internal and external constituencies by the President, UI administrators and collegiate administrators will be timely and on-going.

3. Budget reduction strategies must protect the University’s ability to recruit and retain students.

* Maintaining the University’s reputation for offering a high quality educational experience will be of paramount importance.

* At a minimum, financial aid will be established at 16% of tuition revenue.

* The University will protect to the greatest extent possible the ability of students to graduate in a timely fashion.

4. The University will maintain a robust research and scholarly enterprise. Essential support to funded research programs and research support units will be maintained at a level that does not unduly jeopardize the continuation or growth of external funding.

5. The University’s response to the reductions in state appropriations will focus on those units and programs supported by state appropriations, recognizing that there is a high degree of mutual interdependence among University programs, regardless of the source of funding.

6. The allocation to resource pools such as building repair, equipment, classroom improvements, and library acquisitions will be scrutinized to determine where deferrals can occur or where investments must be continued, consistent with our stewardship responsibilities.

7. Prior commitments made for utilizing new tuition revenues will be subject to reassessment within the context of the current budget situation and in consultation with student leaders.

8. Vice presidents, deans and unit directors will be given flexibility in achieving savings within a framework that includes these principles:

* Budget reductions must achieve net savings to the General Education Fund.

* Decisions about cost reductions must always consider the impact on revenue generation.

* Budget reductions must produce required savings in FY 2002 and savings must be sustainable.

* Units should review existing programs in light of University, collegiate and departmental missions and goals, including the University’s diversity goals. Based upon centrality and quality, selected programs should be subject to increased reductions or elimination.

* Units should explore enhanced efficiencies, including consolidation of programs and services within and across units.

* Units should maximize savings from current and upcoming position vacancies.

* Layoffs/furloughs will only be implemented to the degree necessary.

9. While promoting a salary policy that is flexible in meeting individual unit needs, the University’s funding of salary and benefit increases will be determined by the amount that is received from state appropriations for that purpose.

Thank you in advance for your support, counsel and help.

For further details on our budget situation, click here.

Mary Sue Coleman