Message From The Provost - Baruch College

Baruch College Budget Update

July 15, 2014

Members of the Baruch Community:

We are faced with a significant budget challenge this year due to a shortfall in enrollment, and we need your help in turning it around. Our Fiscal Year '15 fall semester undergraduate enrollment, measured by both full-time-equivalent students and tuition dollars, is lower than expected; the sharp decline in graduate enrollment and tuition we experienced in FY 14 persists. Working together, we need to refresh our graduate degree offerings to enhance their attractiveness to students and the organizations that employ our graduates. We need to insure that our undergraduate curricula are well articulated with our community colleges, and insure that the transfer model upon which CUNY is built works effectively when these transfer students choose Baruch. If asked, please choose to participate in welcoming events for both freshman and transfer students. Finally, at all course levels, we need to work with our departments to insure that we are maximizing enrollment opportunities for our students, offering courses when they are needed, and focusing on those classes for which demand is high and critical for degree progress. In the meantime, we are faced with a tight budget, and will need to allocate what funds we have from open positions to faculty and staff areas where we have extraordinary demand.

VP for Enrollment Management Ben Corpus has been reporting on our enrollment decline, which has resulted in declining revenue. His team is currently taking a deeper look into the data to provide us with a better understanding of the situation. The financial impact is primarily the result of the continuing loss of graduate students. However, VP Corpus and his team are noticing a trend towards more part-time undergraduate students.

This is the first of several updates that we will share with our campus community as new information becomes available. Some of you may be interested in more detailed information provided below. Please do what you can to enhance enrollment at our College.

David Christy, Provost and SVP for Academic Affairs

Katharine T. Cobb, VP Administration & Finance

Baruch's Campus Response to the FY14 Shortfall:

Last fiscal year (FY 14), we experienced lower than anticipated tuition revenue due to a significant enrollment decline, mostly during the spring semester. Our budget allocation last fall assumed that enrollment would be stable; and when it declined we took a number of steps mid-year, including not releasing vacancy savings, recalculating the actual revenue from Zicklin academic excellence fees, and deferring new hires until FY 14 with few exceptions. We also monitored OTPS spending, keeping it within a targeted ceiling.

Our Plan for FY15 Begins this Fall:

This fall (FY 15), we are seeing even lower fall enrollments and revenue. If our fall enrollment was stable, the increase in billed student tuition that we expected, due to a scheduled tuition increase, should be up by 5.2% when compared to last fall. Instead, as of July 1st, our billed tuition for fall semester is lower than last year by 3.4%. This represents a significant reduction in revenue and necessitates revised budgets and new budget policies.

We made base budget estimates on the assumption that FY 15 enrollment would stabilize at FY 14 levels, which were lower than FY 13. Unfortunately, under the current circumstances, we no longer have sufficient revenue to fund our budget at last year's levels. Given the current tuition revenue outlook, our financial plan for FY 15 must be adjusted and further steps must be taken to ensure that we achieve a balanced budget. Thus, while we have released base budgets, and schools, departments and divisions may spend those budgets and may proceed to fill already approved positions, we must invoke the following policies to insure that our budget remains stable and in balance (and this assumes spring enrollment and revenue stabilize at FY 13 levels).

1. No vacancy savings will be released this year; there are no CUTRA funds to be released because our budget surplus at the close of FY 14 was limited to the 1% balance we are required to maintain.
2. No new staff positions will be approved unless units fund those positions by restructuring within their division. Units with pre-approved RAFs may choose to reconsider them with this in mind.
3. Moving forward, filling faculty and staff vacancies must be strategic. Departments will need to provide justification for filling vacated positions based upon an essential role that cannot be met with existing persons and based on enrollment data demonstrating unmet demand. It is essential that we look carefully at the deployment of all individuals in the unit and consider appropriate alternative assignments.
4. We will keep commitments that have been made to faculty, but we will exercise extreme care in making new commitments.
5. We will fund our strategic priorities, but at a more modest level than we had planned. These priorities include the Center for Teaching and Learning, the Office of the Chief Diversity Officer, reorganization of the Division of Student Affairs, Globalization, Organizational Effectiveness and related strategic plan initiatives.

We will continue to monitor fall revenue and create a financial plan that is consistent with available resources, college goals and the future financial outlook. While we seek a 'steady state' budget, our revenues are directly linked to meeting planned enrollment targets with qualified students.

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