Budget Entries from FY 2010

2010 Iowa Legislative Session Adjourns

Wednesday, March 31, 2010

The 2010 Legislative Session adjourned Tuesday, March 30. Unique to the legislative session this year was a supplemental appropriation to UNI for fiscal year 2010 for $5.2 million. Included in the supplemental appropriation bill was a provision stating that UNI may carry forward any unencumbered funds of the $5.2 million into fiscal year 2011. The supplemental appropriation resulted in the Board of Regents voting to rescind the $100 surcharge effective upon enactment, which will have an impact of approximately $1 million to UNI's general fund. 

The Education Appropriations Bill has been submitted to Gov. Culver, who has 30 days in which to apply his signature after officially receiving the legislation from the General Assembly. The bill includes a $77.5 million state appropriation to UNI's general fund budget for fiscal year 2011. This is a 4-percent cut, or $3.1 million reduction, from adjusted fiscal year 2010.

Also included in the Education Appropriations Bill was a one-time appropriation to UNI for fiscal year 2011 for $1.5 million. While these funds cannot be expected to support long-term commitments, they are significant and we thank our local legislative delegation for their efforts in securing these funds on UNI's behalf.

The Iowa General Assembly also asked the Board of Regents and Iowa's universities to achieve greater efficiencies, reduce costs and duplication of programs and services, and increase accountability as part of the State Government Reorganization Commission.

We are hopeful that the fiscal year 11 appropriation signals a reversal of trends in an improving economy. Compared to the more than 23-percent budget cut UNI experienced during a one-year period, it is a step in the right direction that will help us plan more strategically.

Nevertheless, it is another cut with serious consequences. For example, the Iowa Mathematics and Science Education Partnership (IMSEP) will experience a $1.5 million budget cut. UNI's salary increases and related benefits are $3.9 million; our current appropriation does not cover these increases. UNI students and their families will experience a 6-percent tuition increase in fiscal year 2011.

We thank UNI parents and students for their continued support under difficult economic conditions. Our responsibility to our students and the state of Iowa has not diminished, in spite of budget issues. We must remain focused on our guiding principles and university priorities as we continue our efforts to pursue cost-saving measures and strategies that enhance UNI's revenue streams.

We will continue to do everything we can to maintain academic quality, to ensure progress to graduation, to make student financial aid accessible and available, and to keep our campus safe and secure as we make decisions in the weeks and months ahead.

State revenues projected to increase

Friday, March 12, 2010

The Iowa Revenue Estimating Conference yesterday projected an increase in state revenue of $900,000 for fiscal 2010, and $33 million for fiscal 2011. This equates to slightly less than a 1-percent increase in growth for fiscal 2011.

While this estimate of increased revenue is welcomed, positive news, we need to keep in mind that Iowa is only beginning to emerge from the recession. It's unclear at this point whether this slight increase in estimated revenue will enable lawmakers to adjust the state budget in any significant way.

I'll continue to communicate as more information is made available.

Update on tuition increase and state appropriations

Friday, February 5, 2010

The Board of Regents, State of Iowa, voted yesterday to increase 2011-2012 tuition at the three state universities by 6 percent. While a tuition increase is not something we take lightly, it is necessary to help maintain our focus on maintaining quality programs, progress to graduation and campus safety. Even with this increase, UNI still faces a challenging budget situation for fiscal 2011 that will become more clear as the Iowa General Assembly takes action on the state's budget.

Should the Iowa Legislature restore $30.4 million in general-education appropriations to Iowa's public universities, as included in the governor’s FY 2011 budget, the Board voted to rescind the $100 surcharge to students applied in the spring 2010 semester. This temporary surcharge was implemented to generate $5.9 million of the $60 million lost to Iowa’s public universities with the 10-percent across-the-board reduction in October 2009.

We'll know more about the realities of our fiscal 2011 budget in the coming months.

Budget update from President Allen

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Gov. Culver released his budget recommendations for fiscal 2011 last week. Included in his budget are recommendations for restoring some $31 million to the Regent institutions. This is a welcome sign of support, however, we need to remain cautiously optimistic as the Iowa General Assembly continues its work on the budget. A statement about the process from David Miles, president of the Board of Regents, State of Iowa, can be viewed at http://www.regents.iowa.gov/news/DWMstatementGovBudget012710.pdf. You can see the Governor's proposed budget at http://www.governor.iowa.gov/.

FY '10 Budget Cuts, Looking Ahead to FY '11

Friday, January 22, 2010

Over the last several months, the campus community has been busy executing UNI's budget reduction strategies approved in October by the Board of Regents, State of Iowa. Much progress has been made, and I appreciate your flexibility, patience and determination through these challenging budget times.

UNI's action plan addressed the $8.8 million reduction by initiating the strategies mentioned below, but UNI is currently still $730,000 short of its targeted savings. To address this, we plan to use a portion of ARRA funds and limited one-time funds.

Fiscal 2010 budget reduction breakdown

The following initiative has exceeded targeted savings:

Temporarily reduce TIAA-CREF employer contributions from 10 percent to 8 percent of salary for the remainder of fiscal 2010 and 2011 for an estimated $1 million in savings in fiscal 2010. This temporary reduction has resulted in savings of approximately $1.05 million.

The following initiatives have achieved targeted savings:

  1. Make permanent budget reductions across the university through divisional cuts. Budget impact: $1 million. 
  2. Apply a tuition surcharge of $100 per fulltime student for spring 2010 semester. Budget impact: $1 million. 
  3. Initiate an across-the-board 10-percent cut to special line-item units. Budget impact: $400,000. 
  4. Redirect a portion of the ARRA (federal stimulus) funds. Budget impact: $1 million.

The following initiatives have experienced significant cost savings to-date but have yet to achieve estimated targeted savings:

  1. Reallocate unplanned tuition revenue as a result of higher-than-forecasted 2009-2010 enrollment. The estimated cost savings was $2.7 million; however, as of mid-January, the actual amount saved was $2.45 million. Because the final January enrollment numbers are not yet finalized, a more accurate total will be available in early February. 
  2. Conduct temporary layoffs among all employee groups in fiscal 2010 for an estimated cost savings of $1.8 million. The current cost savings as of mid-January is approximately $1.26 million. We have not reached the target due to two factors: 1) the savings of $260,000 from AFSCME employees conducting temporary layoffs has been directed to the state instead of to the university; and 2) the savings of faculty conducting temporary layoffs is $590,000 -- $205,000 less than the original target of $795,000. Instead of temporary layoffs, faculty have voted and approved temporary salary reductions. P&S and S&C employees have begun conducting their temporary layoffs and cost savings are estimated to be on target. I appreciate the investment faculty and staff have made to help UNI through these challenging budget times.
Fiscal 2011 budget

Each week of the current legislative session will provide a greater understanding of UNI's budget scenario for fiscal year 2011. Predictions of additional state appropriation reductions in fiscal 2011 have been made.

While speculative at this point, we are exploring several key strategies to mitigate or reduce costs, including: 1) strategic academic and nonacademic program elimination, 2) mergers or reorganizations of units/functions, 3) function outsourcing, 4) reduction of general fund support for auxiliaries, 5) consideration of other temporary, one-time reduction strategies and 6) reduction of administrative positions.

At the same time we pursue cost-saving measures, we also must pursue strategies that enhance UNI's revenue streams, including an increased focus on 2010-2011 enrollment. 

There are challenges ahead, but our responsibility to our students and the state of Iowa has not diminished. We must remain focused on the priorities at-hand in spite of the budget issues we face.

I will continue to communicate as more information is made available.

Ben Allen

Tuition surcharge approved; temporary layoffs update

Friday, December 11, 2009

Faculty and staff,

In challenging economic times, our entire campus community feels the impact.

The 10-percent across-the-board state appropriation reduction announced in October challenged the university's budget further.  Faculty, staff and students have been asked for their support to meet this new and unprecedented budget demand.

On Oct. 29, the Board of Regents, State of Iowa, approved UNI's plan to reduce the budget. Part of that plan is to conduct temporary layoffs (unpaid leave) among all employee groups in fiscal 2010. The underlying principle is that all employee groups be treated equally in solving UNI's budget problem.

In November, AFSCME voted to approve taking five days of unpaid time off during fiscal 2010. UNI Human Resource Services (HRS) will communicate details about the unpaid leave for AFSCME employees early next week.

In a survey of P&S employees earlier this fall, employees indicated temporary layoffs were a favorable and equitable way to assist in solving the UNI budget problem. Academic administrators, institutional officials, professional & scientific and merit supervisory & confidential employees will move forward with temporary layoffs on a graduated plan of three, five, seven or nine temporary layoff days, depending on salary, during fiscal 2010. It is slightly different than that first announced in October. HRS will communicate details about the temporary layoff days for these employee groups soon.

HRS is working through the specific details that would allow employees of the above-mentioned employee groups to use temporary layoff days during the holiday season, if desired. UNI administration is still working with United Faculty.

Yesterday, the Board of Regents approved a one-time tuition surcharge of $100 for the spring 2010 semester. This surcharge will generate $1 million for UNI, which amounts to approximately 11 percent of our most recent $8.8 million budget cut. We recognize the financial challenges facing our students, and the decision to implement the surcharge took into consideration the extra demand this places on students. We are committed to directing this revenue solely to instruction, financial aid and student-service support to sustain a quality-learning environment.

Lastly, the budget estimates provided today by the Revenue Estimating Conference suggest further challenges for fiscal 2011, likely even more so than fiscal 2010. Using federal stimulus funds and temporary budget solutions, like temporary layoffs and TIAA-CREF employer contribution reductions, to help us through this fiscal year will require more permanent reductions and changes to the university for the coming year.

While there are still several moving pieces involved in solving UNI's budget problem and the challenges are not likely to diminish soon, the university community is faced with an opportunity to refocus and reprioritize. Thank you for your commitment to solving UNI's budget problem together as a community, focused on the priorities of the institution.

Ben Allen

One-Time Tuition Surcharge

Thursday, December 10, 2009

UNI students,

In challenging economic times, our entire campus community feels the impact. However the university will continue to commit to doing everything we can to place our students first by maintaining academic quality, progress to graduation, student financial aid, and campus safety and security.

The 10-percent across-the-board state appropriation reduction announced in October challenged the university's budget further.  And now, the state's public universities must ask students - along with faculty and staff - for their support in meeting this new and unprecedented budget demand.

Approved by the Board of Regents, State of Iowa today was a one-time tuition surcharge of $100 for the spring 2010 semester at the University of Northern Iowa, Iowa State University and University of Iowa. This surcharge will generate $1 million for UNI, which amounts to approximately 11 percent of our $8.8 million budget cut. We recognize the financial challenges facing our students, and the decision to implement the surcharge was only finalized after much consideration to the extra demand this places on students. We are committed to directing this revenue solely to instruction, financial aid and student-service support, areas that directly benefit our students and support the sustainability of a quality-learning environment.

Tuition for the coming academic year will be decided at the Feb. 4 Board of Regents meeting. Fiscal 2011 will be a challenging year for the university's budget. I will keep you informed about the outcome of the tuition decision.

As you continue preparations for finals week, the university community wishes you much success in your studies and exams.

Thank you for your understanding in these challenging times.

Ben Allen

AFSCME membership votes to take unpaid leave

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Yesterday it was announced that members of the state's American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees (AFSCME) voted to approve a proposal put forth to them by Gov. Culver and AFSCME leadership regarding mandatory unpaid days. The agreement between the state and AFSCME includes a provision requiring all AFSCME employees in Iowa to take five days of unpaid time off during the remainder of fiscal 2010.

Obviously, this five-day plan is different than the graduated, three-, six- and nine-day approach originally proposed by UNI. How these mandatory unpaid days will be carried out for UNI's AFSCME-represented employees won't be known until further direction is provided by Department of Administrative Services (DAS).

What impact this agreement will have on temporary layoff plans for UNI's other employee groups won't be known until we have details from the DAS and negotiations are completed with United Faculty.  The next meeting between UNI and United Faculty is scheduled for Dec. 2.

Other budget-related updates:

1. Temporary reduction in TIAA-CREF employer contributions
Effective Nov. 30, the university is temporarily reducing its employer retirement contribution to TIAA-CREF. The reduced contribution will remain in effect through the June 30, 2011 payroll.

2. Board of Regents
A motion to recommend a $100 spring-semester tuition surcharge was approved by the Board of Regents at its October meeting and will be voted on at its Dec. 10 meeting. The vote regarding 2010/11 tuition has been postponed until February.

I want to thank you again for your continued patience as we work out budget details. More updates will follow.

Ben Allen

Some Progress to Report

Friday, November 13, 2009

I had hoped to have more information to share with you by now. Unfortunately, processes beyond our control are moving slower than expected. However, I do want to keep you informed about changes since my last message.

1. Temporary reduction in TIAA-CREF employer contributions

As approved by the Board of Regents, State of Iowa, on Oct. 29, effective with the Nov. 30 payroll, the university will temporarily reduce its employer retirement contribution to TIAA-CREF. The reduced contribution will remain in effect through the June 30, 2011 payroll and will be adjusted as follows:

  • The university contribution rate of 6 2/3 percent for the first $4,800 of salary for employees with one through five years of service will be reduced to 5 1/3 percent.
  • The university contribution rate of 10 percent for salary above the first $4,800 for employees with one through five years of service will be reduced to 8 percent.
  • The university contribution rate of 10 percent for employees with more than five years of service, early retirement plan participants, and employees on phased retirement, will be reduced to 8 percent.
  • The employee contribution rate will remain the same.

If you have questions about TIAA-CREF, contact Cindy Webb or Bobbi Petersma.

2. Temporary layoffs

Part of UNI's plan to reduce the budget is to conduct temporary layoffs (unpaid leave) among all employee groups in fiscal 2010. This plan will be graduated based on salary. The specifics of temporary layoffs won't be known until discussions have concluded between the state and AFSCME, and between UNI and United Faculty. We are hopeful discussions will be concluded by the end of the month.

Gov. Culver's office and AFSCME have a tentative agreement. The membership will vote on ratification of the agreement on or before Nov. 25. Whatever is decided at the state level will directly impact AFSCME-represented employees at UNI. That decision also will impact the options available to the university.

Since the last Board of Regents meeting, UNI administrators have met with United Faculty leadership to share information and ask questions pertaining to temporary layoff and temporary salary reduction options. The two groups will meet again on Nov. 16. 

 3. Board of Regents

A motion to recommend a $100 spring-semester tuition surcharge was approved by the Board of Regents at its October meeting and will be voted on at its Dec. 10 meeting.

4. Federal stimulus (ARRA) funds

Since July 2008, state appropriations to UNI have been cut by 23 percent, or $23 million. On the positive side, UNI has received $12.4 million in one-time American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) funding for fiscal 2010. We have tentatively committed those funds to a series of projects across campus. These allocations won't be final until the overall university budget has been approved. For detailed information about the ARRA funding and how we intend to use it, see http://www.uni.edu/president/sites/default/files/arra.pdf.

UNI's vice presidents have been sharing information with you about how these actions impact your specific areas. We remain committed to treating all employee groups in an equitable manner. There are many details yet to be determined and we will communicate updates on our progress as available. Thank you for your continued patience and dedication to our students and the state of Iowa.

Ben Allen

The Board of Regents has approved UNI's budget reduction action plan

Thursday, October 29, 2009

The conversation at today's Board of Regents, State of Iowa meeting regarding UNI's action plan to address the 10-percent budget reduction has concluded.

The Board of Regents has approved the action plan I outlined in my message earlier today.

A motion to recommend a $100 spring semester surcharge was approved by the Board of Regents and will be voted on at the December board meeting.

Today marks a new reality for UNI. While difficult decisions have been made, our priorities and our purpose cannot and will not change.  In the coming days, UNI's vice presidents will share more information with you on how these actions impact your specific areas. There are many details yet to be determined and we will communicate updates on our progress as available.

Ben Allen

Proposal presented to Board of Regents, State of Iowa for 10% budget cuts

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Download President Allen's Presentation  (PDF)

At the Board of Regents, State of Iowa meeting today, the state's public universities will present proposals to address an across-the-board 10-percent state appropriated budget cut for fiscal 2010.

This budget reduction has significant implications for our university. A 10-percent state appropriation reduction has a greater impact on UNI than it does to the state's other public universities, as UNI relies more heavily on state funding. To compound the reality of its impact, this cut, coupled with other recent decreases in state appropriations, represents a reduction in state funds for UNI of $23 million, or 23 percent, since July 2008. 

This budget cut required swift decision-making, in large part, because one-third of our fiscal year has already passed. For the last two weeks, UNI's leadership has met with students, faculty and staff to assist in this difficult process.  To guide strategic decision-making, we focused on both the fiscal 2010 10-percent state appropriation reduction while taking into consideration our anticipated fiscal 2011 budget scenario. With stimulus funds unavailable for fiscal 2011 and the economic outlook still challenging, our proposal employed both permanent and temporary strategies to minimize a potential financial "cliff" in the coming fiscal year.

UNI's proposed action plan to the Board of Regents will address the $8.8 million reduction by initiating the following strategies:

Reallocate unplanned tuition revenue as a result of higher-than-forecasted 2009-2010 enrollment ($2.7 million)

Make permanent budget reductions across the university through divisional cuts, which could include permanent layoffs ($1 million)

Conduct temporary layoffs (unpaid leave) among all employee groups in fiscal 2010 with a graduated plan based on salary ($1.8 million)

Redirect a portion of the ARRA (stimulus) funds ($1 million)

Temporarily reduce TIAA-CREF employer contributions from 10 percent to 8 percent of salary for the remainder of fiscal 2010 and fiscal 2011 ($1 million in savings in fiscal 2010)

Apply a tuition surcharge of $100 per fulltime student for spring 2010 semester with revenue going directly to instruction, financial aid and student-service support ($1 million)

Initiate an across-the-board 10-percent cut to special line-item units at UNI ($400,000)

This action plan is contingent on the Board of Regents approval. 

Thank you for your continued patience and dedication to our students and the state of Iowa.

Ben Allen

Budget update after special Board of Regents meeting

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Yesterday, the Board of Regents, State of Iowa held a special telephonic meeting to discuss how the state's public institutions and special schools will address the recent announcement of a 10 percent across-the-board cut.

During the meeting, the Board of Regents approved the temporary hiring freeze on general fund positions announced last week by President Miles. The hiring freeze is in place until the board approves the university's action plan for the budget reduction on October 29. The moratorium on new building construction announced last week was lifted, allowing UNI to continue with in-progress construction projects.

The Board of Regents also asked the state's public institutions and special schools to consider a number of strategies in developing an action plan to be presented at the October 29 Board of Regents meeting, to be held on our campus. As directed by the Board of Regents yesterday, UNI's proposed action plan to address the $8.8 million reduction should consider the following:

1. Temporary salary reductions

2. Temporary layoffs/furloughs

3. Benefit revisions of a temporary or permanent nature

4. A tuition surcharge for the spring semester of 2010

5. Postponing non-essential deferred maintenance and repairs

6. Refocusing efforts, including potential program eliminations

7. Permanent layoffs

8. Selling non-essential assets to generate one-time funds

Between now and October 29, much collaboration and communication will be necessary. The vice presidents and I will meet with as many on-campus groups and constituents as possible to assist in this difficult decision-making process.

Our primary principles of doing everything we can to maintain academic quality, progress to graduation, student financial aid, and campus safety and security will continue to guide our decision making.

I will share more information with the campus community as it becomes available.

Ben Allen

Download Board of Regents President David Miles remarks from the October 14 special Board of Regents meeting

New Budget Reductions Coming

Friday, October 9, 2009

On October 7, the state Revenue Estimating Conference lowered its fiscal 2010 revenue projection from nearly $5.8 billion last March to $5.4 billion. This new projection resulted in Gov. Culver's announcement of a 10-percent across-the-board cut to the state's fiscal 2010 budget. Board of Regents President David Miles also announced an immediate hiring freeze for all general fund supported positions and a moratorium on all new building construction projects. These issues will be discussed and presented for ratification at a special telephonic meeting of the Board of Regents, State of Iowa scheduled for October 14.

This new budget reduction equates to an approximately $8.8 million cut for the University of Northern Iowa and now reduces the university's state appropriations by $23.8 million (23.1 percent) since the start of fiscal 2009.

With this news, we continue to face great financial challenges. Difficult decisions were made last year as a result of fiscal 2009 budget reversions and fiscal 2010 state appropriation decreases. I am very aware of the burden these cuts placed on the university.

This will require substantial, structural changes to the university and sizeable cuts to programs and initiatives. Everything is on the table for review.

Yet, our guiding principles must remain intact for this round of budget reductions. We will do everything we can to maintain academic quality, progress to graduation, student financial aid, and campus safety and security. The vice presidents and I will make these reductions as strategically as possible.

As noted during convocation in September, we have to make substantive changes for our university. I encourage each and every university community member to accept these circumstances and take responsibility for the future success of the university. With the limited resources we have, we will need to become much more efficient and effective, innovative and entrepreneurial.

We will get through this challenge, but we must work hard, work smart and work together. Thank you for your continued focus on the work at hand.

Ben Allen

Download Board of Regents President David Miles statement from October 8