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Release: May 10, 2001

UI announces outline of plan to deal with state funding reduction

IOWA CITY, Iowa -- The Iowa Legislature, in its annual session just adjourned on Tuesday, reduced the University of Iowa’s state appropriation for FY 2001-02 by about $19 million, the largest single reduction ever.

Under the funding plans approved by the Legislature and sent to Gov. Tom Vilsack, the university’s general education fund, which supports the basic educational mission, will be reduced by $14.7 million from the current fiscal year. To partially offset that reduction, university officials announced today that they will use $3.6 million in new tuition revenue that otherwise would have been used for initiatives aimed at improving education, such as continuing revitalization efforts at UI Libraries and updating instructional equipment in classrooms.

With the conclusion of the Legislative session, UI President Mary Sue Coleman and other administrators, including collegiate deans and department heads, will make final determinations of how to deal with the budget reductions. Coleman has articulated a set of principles that calls for following the university’s strategic plan and core values in making budget cuts. Among other things, those principles call for:

  • Protecting the university’s ability to recruit and retain students by maintaining the quality of education, keeping financial aid at 16 percent of tuition revenue, and protecting, as much as possible, the ability of students to graduate in a timely fashion.
  • Maintaining a robust research and scholarly enterprise.
  • Deferring some building repairs and equipment and classroom improvements.
  • Leaving unfilled positions vacant and implementing layoffs only as a last resort.

UI officials also announced that student financial aid and the library acquisition funds would be shielded from budget cuts, and that university administrative and support units would be assigned larger budget cuts than the UI’s eleven colleges.

Although the Iowa Legislature has appropriated $79.3 million for salary increases for state employees, there is still uncertainty as to how the Iowa Department of Management will allocate those funds among state agencies, including the Regent universities.

Those are among the highlights of a general outline of the budget situation that UI officials will present next week when the Board of Regents, State of Iowa, holds its monthly meeting in Council Bluffs. More detailed budget information will not be available at least until the June meeting of the Board of Regents.