In the midst of unsettled state budget negotiations, Bowling Green State University has adopted a balanced budget for 2009-10. The BGSU Board of Trustees at its June 26 meeting approved a $283.6 million educational and general fund budget for the University’s main campus and a $14.8 million budget for its Firelands campus. The budget reflects the third year of a freeze on undergraduate tuition rates, and comes at the beginning of Ohio’s next budget biennium.
The adopted budget amounts are based on State Share of Instruction projections from the governor’s office. However, the state legislature is still debating the budget, and the amount universities ultimately will receive could go lower, Chief Financial Officer Sheri Stoll warned the board. In that case, Bowling Green’s budget could be revisited in October for further adjustments. Gov. Ted Strickland has announced that the state budget could remain undecided until late next week, past the June 30 end of the current fiscal year.
The newly approved BGSU budget is based on an anticipated decline in main campus enrollment and modest growth at BGSU Firelands. In order to reach its balanced budget for this fiscal year, the University had to make $4.5 million in reductions. The University worked throughout the 2009 fiscal year to make additional reductions of more than $10 million. The 2010 budget approved by the board assumes additional reductions may be necessary. The total amount of those reductions won’t be known until the state budget is finalized, Stoll said.
The 2010 plan calls for no increases for administrative or classified staff. Modest amounts have been provided to fund faculty promotion, tenure and stipend increases. If additional resources become available due to larger than expected enrollments, Bowling Green will create a 1 percent pool for faculty increases, and funding will be provided to the College of Arts and Sciences for unfunded positions.
In addition to the educational and general fund budgets, the BGSU board approved auxiliary budgets for next year. The sum of the main campus’s educational and general fund, general fee-funded auxiliaries, residence and dining hall and other auxiliary budgets is $377,491,137. Combined with Firelands, the University total is $392,331,452.
The trustees set room and board rates at their April 27 meeting. Combining those rates with tuition and fees, the total cost for new full-time, in-state freshmen this year will be about $16,370, up from about $16,080 in 2008-09.
Plans are in motion to address undergraduate enrollment, which has been falling over the last few years, dropping by more than 2,000 full-time equivalent students since fiscal year 2007. Using some of the savings it has accrued this year through attrition, layoffs and other measures, BGSU will allocate almost $4 million in one-time spending for enrollment management and student support, marketing, expansion of its online course offerings and a revision of its general education curriculum.
Investment in these areas, while aimed at increasing enrollment and retention, will also address the state’s new funding formula for higher education that goes into effect with the upcoming fiscal year. Rather than a purely enrollment-based model, it also takes into account such factors as years to graduation, degree completion and the number of classes offered in the STEM disciplines (science, mathematics, engineering and technology).