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University of Iowa News Release

May 17, 2004

Skorton Announces $2 Million In GEF Budget Reductions For FY05

University of Iowa President David Skorton today announced $2 million in general education fund budget reductions for fiscal year 2004-05. The budget reductions are primarily based on recommendations of the General Education Fund (GEF) Task Force, an ad hoc committee of elected faculty, staff and student leaders, vice presidents, and other faculty and staff with relevant experience and expertise, whose report to Skorton was released on May 6.

The GEF Task Force was asked to identify $12 million in reductions of GEF usage over a two- to three-year period, the UI president noted. The President's decisions on the $2 million in GEF reductions for FY05 were made over the past week in order to be incorporated into the UI's budget for the new fiscal year beginning July 1. The UI will present its full budget to the Board of Regents, State of Iowa, in June.

Decisions on the remaining $10 million of recommendations will be made over the next few months and would affect the budgets for FY06 and beyond.

GEF budget reductions for FY05 will be made in the following areas:

* Athletics, $300,000. This is a cut of more than 12 percent of the Athletics Department's general education fund budget, and it follows a year in which athletics was assessed GEF budget cuts of $214,000.

"The Athletics Department will be able to manage this reduction in our general education fund allocation without eliminating any sports," said UI Athletic Director Bob Bowlsby.

* Utility usage, $250,000. Facilities Services will lead an aggressive campaign with departments throughout the UI to curtail energy usage across campus, including turning off lights, computers, printers, copiers, coffee pots and lab equipment when not in use; keeping doors and windows closed to keep heating and cooling systems operating efficiently; and promoting the purchase of energy efficient equipment, including lab equipment.

* Custodial service, $250,000. The schedule for cleaning individual faculty and staff offices will be reduced to achieve this savings. Custodial service to classrooms and public spaces will not change with this proposal.

* Fringe benefit cost savings, $200,000. Skorton said he would work with the Funded Retirement Insurance Committee and other relevant UI charter committees to achieve this initial savings in the cost of fringe benefits from among the recommendations of the GEF Task Force.

* nTITLE program, $200,000. This cut will require a significant restructuring of the four-day summer workshop for faculty who want to learn about using technology in the classroom. "This is a valuable program for faculty, and we want it to continue. That is why we have retained some funding for the program rather than cutting it completely," said Interim Provost Pat Cain.

* University of Iowa Research Foundation, $200,000. These funds have supported services provided to the campus by UIRF staff located on the Oakdale Campus, such as the negotiation of licenses and material transfer agreements. "Because of the success of faculty and staff inventions, which have resulted in substantial licensing revenue, the Research Foundation is self-supporting at this time and currently can provide these services without an allocation from the general fund," said Bill Decker, interim vice president for research.

* Continuing Education, $150,000. Most of the savings in this unit will result from a restructuring of the Audio Visual Center and the Video Center. The GEF subsidy for Conferences and Institutes will also be reduced.

* Information technology, $150,000. This is not a direct cut to the Information Technology Services Department, but rather a reduction in the amount that all units, including ITS, spend for information technology, Provost Cain explained. Units will have less money to spend on hardware and software in exchange for cost savings that can be realized from more concerted group purchasing arrangements.

* Student need-based subsidies for childcare shifted to financial aid budget, $100,000. Some of the subsidy for childcare for undergraduate and graduate students will be shifted to the financial aid budget. No undergraduate students with need-based financial aid will be affected, Skorton said. Moreover, the percentage of tuition set aside for student financial aid will not be reduced but will remain at 17 percent.

* University Relations publications, $55,000. The Annual Report and the quarterly publication ArtsIowa will be eliminated. Some funding for ArtsIowa will be used to publicize and advertise art events in other ways. During FY05, University Relations will also study converting FYI, the faculty and staff newspaper, to an on-line publication.

* Printing Services, $50,000 in GEF support will be eliminated and other means will be sought to meet Printing Department costs of preparing specifications and soliciting bids from outside vendors for printing projects.

* Radio stations KSUI and WSUI, $45,000. Appointment of a new director of Broadcasting Services will be postponed for one year while the public radio stations at the University of Iowa, Iowa State University, and the University of Northern Iowa conduct a study to find efficiencies through collaboration and cooperation.

* Museum of Art, $30,000. The GEF support for the Museum of Art will be reduced as organizational changes are made. Public access to the Museum will remain free and hours will not be reduced. Academic units will continue to have the same access and support for academic programs that is currently provided by the Museum.

* Bottled water expenses paid by GEF, $20,000. The GEF Task Force learned that some units are spending GEF funding on bottled water services and recommended that the practice be discontinued. That spending will be eliminated and the funds reallocated centrally.

A number of other departments and programs were recommended for GEF budget reductions over the next three fiscal years, but will not be cut for FY05. Those units and programs include Alumni Relations, Hancher Auditorium, Corporate Partnerships, the Institute for Public Affairs, the Labor Center, the Lakeside Laboratory, Old Capitol Museum, the Natural History Museum, the State Archaeologist, the University of Iowa Press, and the Dual Career Network.

Consideration of a reorganization of Opportunity at Iowa, which focuses on the preparation, recruitment and retention of historically under-represented minority students, will await review by the new provost.

Other recommendations of the GEF Task Force that will not be implemented in FY05 include shifting to fee-based funding for recreational services; expanding the Student Health fee to cover all costs for the Student Health Service; and shifting some costs for University Counseling Services to a student fee, user fees or insurance recoveries. These recommendations will need to be considered as part of the Board of Regents' annual review of tuition and fee policies.

The GEF Task Force's report may be viewed at this web link: The report can be downloaded as a PDF by clicking HERE.

STORY SOURCE: University Relations, 101 Jessup Hall, Iowa City, Iowa 52242-1000.

MEDIA CONTACT: Steve Parrott,, phone 319-335-0552, cell 530-6972