UAlbany Budget Updates
Message from President Philip on Fri, Aug 6, 2010
Dear Members of the Campus Community:
I write today to update you on the difficult budgetary environment confronting the University at Albany. As you likely know from news coverage and the Chancellor's recent message shared with the campus, the State Legislature completed the FY 2010-11 State budget Tuesday evening without adopting the Public Higher Education Empowerment and Innovation Act. Unfortunately, the enacted State budget includes over $210 million in State support reductions bringing SUNY's total cuts to more than $634 million over the past three years.
For the University at Albany, this means a cut in State support of $11.96 million in FY 2010-11, translating into a cumulative, three-year reduction of more than $32 million. During this time, our students also realized a $620 tuition increase - only to have the State use the additional tuition revenue to close a State budget deficit rather than invest these monies in the University's academic enterprise for the benefit of our students.
This is one of the many reasons why Chancellor Zimpher and I, along with countless supporters of the Empowerment Act, remain steadfast in our commitment to secure the flexibilities and autonomies needed by the University and other SUNY campuses. Through this landmark reform legislation, we will be able to address the draconian reductions in State support and allow New York's knowledge-based, innovation economy to thrive.
As a result of the dramatic reduction in our campus's financial base, we have a substantial imbalance of expenditures and revenues. Compounding this concern, New York State's structural deficit in FY 2011-12 is projected to exceed $7 billion. Given the budgetary uncertainties at the State level, the prospect of additional cuts to SUNY next year is most troubling.
As I communicated at the end of the spring semester, it is imperative for us to take the proactive steps required to appropriately shape and protect our future - absent financial and regulatory relief from the State. Without this relief in place today and given the campus's structural deficit, we are unable to maintain the size of our faculty and staff, the breadth of our academic programs and offerings, and our current student enrollment levels.
Consequently, difficult decisions to address the University's projected budget shortfall are on the horizon. Workforce reductions, programmatic suspensions, student enrollment reductions and other cost-saving measures must be implemented in the days ahead. These necessary, cost-cutting decisions will undoubtedly be felt by us all.
In times of fiscal constraint and retraction, there are certainly no easy solutions. I want to extend my appreciation to the campus-wide Budget Advisory Group (BAG) for their engaged and thoughtful work through the early part of the summer. The BAG's guidance has proven helpful, particularly as we consider the financial future of the University in relation to our emerging strategic planning efforts and anticipated transitional issues.
As we make our way through these challenging times, I am confident that our University will emerge strong and maintain its status as a preeminent public research university.
I will continue to keep you apprised of future fiscal and budgetary developments.
Thank you, once again, for your dedication and support of the University at Albany.
George M. Philip