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University of Wyoming Proposes Another $10M in Cuts

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Adam Porter, Townsquare Media

The University of Wyoming would offer separation incentive for longtime faculty members and eliminate some vacant positions as part of $10 million in permanent budget reductions proposed Wednesday by UW President Laurie Nichols and the Financial Crisis Advisory Committee.

Nichols was not certain how many jobs would be lost as a result of the proposal, but said the picture would become more clear once units finalize their plans to implement the cuts.

Nichols also proposes new ways to generate revenue, largely in the forms of program fees and a 4-percent tuition increase already included in the UW tuition policy.

The university recently identified $19.3 million in cuts for the current fiscal year. Most prominently, those cuts — which will carry through the second year of the biennium and beyond — involved eliminating 102 vacant positions and hiring fewer part-time and adjunct instructors, as well as $7 million in cuts across campus.

The plan presented at Wednesday’s town hall meeting for the fiscal year beginning July 1 calls for a separation incentive targeting faculty who have been at UW for at least 15 years. The goal for that incentive is $4 million in savings, with half of that to be returned to the Office of Academic Affairs for hiring new faculty members in high-priority areas.

An estimated $750,000 in savings would come from the elimination of 15 faculty and staff vacancies that have come open since the last round of cuts.

The following cuts to units across campus would save UW another $6 million:

  • Academic Affairs — $2.05 million
    • College of Arts and Sciences — $475,000
    • College of Agriculture and Natural Resources — $350,000
    • College of Business — $150,000
    • College of Education — $110,000
    • College of Engineering and Applied Science — $125,000
    • College of Health Sciences — $150,000
    • College of Law — $75,000
    • Outreach School — $500,000
    • UW Libraries — $110,000
  • Division of Administration — $1.31 million
  • Department of Athletics — $1 million
  • Information Technology — $500,000
  • Division of Student Affairs — $300,000
  • Office of General Counsel — $215,000
  • President’s Office — $191,340
  • UW Foundation — $175,000
  • Office of Research and Economic Development — $80,532
  • Office of Governmental and Community Affairs — $100,000

The elimination of 16 academic degree programs is also expected to generate some savings, though that amount has not been determined and is not factored into the plan for FY 2018 budget cuts.

But the plan for FY 2018 does include a savings of $1.58 million on UW operational expenses based on recommendations from Huron Consulting Group, which reviewed administrative functions at UW. The savings would include $630,000 from consolidation of campus information technology functions, $335,000 in UW’s procurement operations, and $275,000 from changes within the Student Health Service.

An estimated $5 million in new revenue would come from implementing program fees for high-cost academic programs at UW. Another $2 million would come from the 4-percent tuition increase, already a part of the UW tuition policy adopted by the Board of Trustees.

Projected enrollment growth would bring about $200,000 from tuition and fees. Student housing room and board would contribute an additional $350,000 to UW Residence Life and Dining Services.

The university says in a news release that even with the increases, student tuition and fees at UW are expected to remain among the lowest of the nation’s public universities for both in-state and out-of-state students.

Public comment will be accepted through Oct. 28. The Financial Crisis Advisory Committee will provide Nichols with further input by Nov. 1, and Nichols on Nov. 8 will make her final recommendation to the Board of Trustees.

The Board must approve any elements of the proposal before they take effect. Trustees will consider the proposal at their regular meeting Nov. 16.

Anyone can email ideas and comments to uwpres@uwyo.edu.

The committee will accept public comment Monday, Oct. 17 at 1 p.m. in the Wyoming Union East Ballroom and again on Friday, Oct. 21, at noon in Room 506 of Coe Library.

“We are committed to growing our student enrollment, and we will have the infrastructure to accept more students, even with the reductions we must make during this biennium,” Nichols says in the news release. “The university will continue to provide top-quality education at a great price, a vibrant student experience and cutting-edge research, and we will continue to move forward with initiatives that will further enhance our standing.”

Read More About the Financial Crisis at UW

 

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