Budget Entries from FY 2012

Legislative Budget Update

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

The Legislature adjourned today after completing work on the fiscal 2013 state budget which includes a $23 million increase for the state’s three public universities.  

UNI received a general fund increase of $6,379,273 – an 8.5 percent increase. That includes a 3.2 percent increase received by all three Regent institutions as well as a $4 million base budget adjustment.

We greatly appreciate the Iowa General Assembly's decision to increase funding for UNI.

Other funding includes:

  • $4.7 million for STEM (an increase of $2,965,344)

  • $175,256 for the Recycling and Reuse Center (flat funding)

  • $125,307 for the Real Estate Education program (flat funding)

  • $574,716 for Economic Development at UNI for the Institute for Decision Making, Metal Casting, and MyEntrenet (flat funding)

  • $900,000 to replace UNI’s previous funding from the Grow Iowa Values Fund.  

    • Tech Transfer and Business Incubation

    • Entrepreneurship/Economic Gardening

    • Regional Development

    • Ag Based Lubricants

    • Market Research for Iowa companies

The budget has now been submitted to the Governor, who has 30 days to sign or veto the bill. So while the process continues, we are grateful to the Legislature for recognizing the important role UNI plays in educating Iowa students and the unique financial challenge that presents. In particular, our local delegation was extremely helpful and fought for higher funding all session. Please reach out to them to express your gratitude.

We look forward to moving ahead with fiscal 2013 budget planning. This funding, along with the cost saving measures the university previously announced, will allow UNI to support its core mission, advance its priorities in teacher preparation and undergraduate education, strategically support and grow academic programs and serve Iowa's students and families.

Some of the more significant policy changes include:

SF2284 The education reform package establishes new testing standards for teacher preparation programs, requires two additional weeks for student teaching, requires continuous improvement plans for courses with more than 100 students, and creates several task forces.

SF 2225 It requires community colleges, private colleges and Regent universities to adopt policies to protect children from child abuse on campus but does NOT make all Regent employees mandatory reporters.

SF 430 An open records bill that creates a new Public Information Board and provides an exemption for draft documents. 

Benjamin J. Allen

President's Budget Message

Thursday, February 16, 2012

The higher education landscape has changed dramatically, both in Iowa and throughout the nation.  As leaders in higher education, we have a responsibility to our students, their parents and taxpayers of Iowa to maintain our excellent academic reputation, enhance access and affordability, and prepare for the future.  In times like these, we must define our future before circumstances dictate it for us.

Changes have been made during the past few years to prepare us for the future.  Unfortunately, those changes were not enough.  We continue to need to make strategic budget decisions by reallocating and aligning resources to support our core mission and values.  

Academic and non-academic programs, support services, and outsourcing opportunities are being reviewed.  Malcolm Price Lab School, the UNI Museum, Panther Athletics and UNI Print Services are included in this review.  We will announce academic program mergers and closures.  The academic programs are those with low enrollment and few graduates.  Students enrolled in those programs will be allowed to finish their programs.

We are working with the Board of Regents, State of Iowa, and consulting with applicable stakeholders, to make changes now to ensure the educational experience we want for every student exists in the future.  Making difficult decisions today will help ensure that we continue our tradition of excellence.  We believe these decisions will result in an institution that retains and builds on its historic strengths, while aligning us for future success in a challenging and competitive education environment.

Thank you for your confidence and support.

UNI Budget Update: Jan. 20, 2012

Friday, January 20, 2012

Last week Gov. Branstad presented his budget proposal, which includes a $20 million increase for Iowa's Regents universities. The proposed budget for the three public universities is a significant improvement over last year.  While it falls short of the request made by the Board of Regents, it provides a good starting point for our work with the Legislature. 

The governor did not include UNI's special $4 million request for FY2013 in his proposed budget. That money would need to come out of the $20 million or we would need the Legislature to designate the additional $4 million. Budget cuts continue to have a more profound impact on UNI because we depend much more on state appropriations than our sister institutions, which have the benefit of a much greater percentage of non-resident students supplementing their budget.

Other UNI-related items in the governor's proposal include:

  • An additional $3 million for the STEM initiative focusing on science, technology, engineering, and mathematics education.  This is a Regents-wide effort led by the Iowa Mathematics and Science Education Partnership program (IMSEP) on the UNI campus.
  • Flat funding for UNI's economic development programs, which include the Institute for Decision Making, Metal Casting and My EntreNet. The funding request for the Regents technology transfer programs was not included in the governor's budget. We will work with the Legislature to provide additional resources for BCS programs.
  • $8.2 million for Bartlett/Baker projects
  • $2 million for deferred maintenance and fire safety at Iowa's three universities

There are certainly areas of funding we'd like to see restored, but we're pleased to see the governor commit additional resources to higher education at this time.

We are committed to maintaining the high-quality education provided by this institution. Faculty, staff and students are asked to work together this legislative session to share UNI's story and show the impact we have in the state. It is important to share accurate information and remain positive about all the great work we are doing at UNI.

We must do everything we can to maintain our outstanding academic quality. Together we will make the right decisions and continue to keep the University of Northern Iowa on the path to becoming an even greater university.

Ben Allen

Regents approve fiscal 2013 appropriations request

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

The Board of Regents, State of Iowa met last week. The key item on the agenda was the fiscal 2013 appropriations request, which was unanimously approved as presented. It is important to note that the appropriations request needs to be approved by the Iowa General Assembly during the next legislative session.

The proposal included a 4-percent increase to the general education fund for all three public universities. That equates to $3 million for UNI. That funding will be focused in three areas: 1) undergraduate education; 2) pre-K through 12 education issues; 3) safety and security.

In addition:

  • The board approved a request for full salary funding for the regents institutions
  • A 4-percent percent increase to UNI economic development programs, in addition to UNI's share of a $500,000 Regents' Inter-institutional Economic Development Initiative. The initiative includes the Institute for Decision Making, MyEntre.net, the National Ag-based Lubricants Center (NABL), the Metal Casting Center (MCC) and the Tallgrass Prairie Center. 
  • UNI will collaborate with ISU and the U of I in the $7.5 million Renewable Energy and Value-added Agriculture Initiative. The Tallgrass Prairie Center, NABL, and the MCC will be heavily involved. 
  • A request to continue funding the Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) initiative and return it to the fiscal 2009 funding level of $4 million. The Iowa Mathematics and Science Education Partnership (IMSEP), headquartered at UNI, will now administer the new Governor's STEM Advisory Council.

Special request

UNI has a bright future, but it is faced with financial challenges that clearly set us apart from our sister Iowa universities. Because of UNI's high dependence on state appropriations for its general-fund budget (46.7 percent vs. 33.5 percent at UI and 35 percent at ISU), reductions in state funding carry a disproportionate impact. Therefore, the board approved a special appropriation request of $12 million, to be added to the university’s base budget -- $4 million per year for three years.

This is very positive news, but only the first step in the process. If we receive the funds, we'll use them to sustain our current operations and continue to educate Iowans who in turn serve Iowa. The funds also will allow us to make some investments to effect change that will strengthen the university.

If the funding doesn't come through, it will be much more difficult to overcome our challenges and position the university to be stronger in the long run. UNI went into this fiscal year facing a $3.6 million deficit. Then the fall enrollment was slightly lower than anticipated. The result is an additional $1 million shortfall, making our total deficit $4.6 million.

We are adjusting our plans based on this new budget figure.  The additional deficit will be allocated differentially across the three university divisions and the Office of the President. We will be guided in the process by our continuing commitment to ensuring academic program quality, facilitating timely graduation and maintaining affordability, accessibility and safety of the campus.

I look forward to working with you as we forge ahead.

Ben Allen

Budget update — August, 2011 Board of Regents presentation

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Today I presented an overview of UNI's fiscal 2012 budget to the Board of Regents, State of Iowa. I stressed that UNI has a bright future, but we are faced with financial challenges that clearly set us apart from our sister Iowa public universities.

As I reported last month, UNI is facing a $3.6 million deficit. That deficit will be allocated across the three university divisions and the President's Office. Academic Affairs will be reduced $2.26 million (2.3 percent of its base budget), while Administration and Financial Services will be reduced $690,000 (2.9 percent of its base budget), and Student Affairs will be reduced $215,000 (2.8 percent of its base budget). The President's Office (and units reporting to it) will be reduced $145,000 (2.9 percent of its base budget).

As a result, we need to reduce our workforce by eliminating or reducing programs and services that aren't closely aligned with university priorities. We will accomplish the workforce reduction by attrition as much as possible. I have been working closely with the three vice presidents since early in the spring semester to develop plans to reduce expenses and increase revenue. Final decisions should be made by the end of the fall semester.

The Board applauded UNI for our focus on serving Iowa students who in turn serve Iowa. At the same time, they encouraged us to continue to find new ways to increase revenue, such as recruiting more out-of-state and international students. They also encouraged us to focus on our strengths and continue to grow our role as a leader in pre-K through 12 education issues locally, regionally and nationally.

As we move ahead we will maintain affordability and accessibility; ensure program quality and timely graduation; maintain a safe campus; and make strategic changes rather than across-the-board cuts.

More updates about the budget will follow. Today's PowerPoint presentation is available online (PDF download).

Ben Allen

Moving forward in fiscal 2012

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

The Iowa General Assembly has approved the fiscal 2012 state appropriations. Pending Governor Branstad's approval, the university can finalize its fiscal 2012 budget. Your patience during this unusually long budget process is appreciated.

This spring, our budget planning for fiscal 2012 was created around a projected 4 percent total reduction in state appropriations that included the loss of one-time funds. We now know that state appropriations for the general education fund will be reduced by 3.63 percent and the one-time funds of $1.46 million will not be restored. This culminates in a total state appropriation reduction of 5.4 percent or $4.3 million. The specifics of UNI-related budget appropriations and allocations are listed below.

The impact of a reduction in state appropriations is more severe at UNI because we are more dependent upon state funds than the University of Iowa (SUI) and Iowa State University (ISU). Approximately 50 percent of our general fund budget comes from state appropriations while this percentage is roughly 38 percent at SUI and ISU. In addition, approximately 93 percent of UNI's students are from Iowa and only about 14 percent of our tuition revenue is from out-of-state students. This greatly limits our options to increase revenue streams to replace state funds.

Since 2000, UNI's state appropriation has been cut seven times and is now below 1996-97 funding levels. State funding has decreased a total of $23.6 million, or 24 percent, in the last four years alone.  Despite this, we need to continue our commitment to provide an affordable high-quality educational experience for our students.

I look forward to the start of a new academic year and thank you for your hard work during these challenging times.

Results of Legislative Action:

  • UNI General Fund: Appropriation reduction of 3.63 percent (-$2.8 million), in addition to loss of one-time funds of $1.46 million. This equals a total UNI loss of $4.3 million or 5.4 percent.
  • The new fiscal 2012 state appropriation base is $74,734,586.
  • No funds were appropriated to meet the negotiated salary increases.
  • Other line-item appropriations were reduced 3.63 percent: Recycling, Reuse and Technology Transfer Center; Math and Science Collaborative; Real Estate Program Project.
  • Economic development appropriation (IDM, MyEntre.Net, Metal Casting): 6 percent cut, or $574,716.
  • $21 million over the next four years was approved from the Rebuild Iowa Infrastructure Fund to remodel Bartlett Hall and demolish Baker Hall.
  • $2 million to be shared among the Regents Universities for fire safety and deferred maintenance.
  • UNI's share of the Grow Iowa Values Fund, which supports technology transfer and job creation, was reduced to $288,000 from $729,000 this past year.