The addition of 900 students for the spring 2015 semester and increased enrollment for the winter session has reduced the end-of-year shortfall from $3.4 million to $1 to $2 million, according to the university’s vice president of Administration and Finance.
The original gap was attributed to a shortfall of 370 students in the fall enrollment.
However, according to Steve Bolyai, the vice president of Administration and Finance, the administration “discussed enrollment and ways to monitor expenditures throughout the remainder of the year. It was decided not to reduce operating budgets and that any year-end shortfall would be covered by utilizing University reserves,” according to an email that was sent to the university community on Feb. 17.
In addition, Bolyai noted that “expenditure projections are running slightly more favorably than first projected in November” and that an unexpected number of staff retired or resigned, none of which will be replaced until September.
The email presented an update on the university’s current fiscal year budget and plans for the 2015-2016 budget.
In light of the deficit, Bolyai wrote, “expecting students to pay a greater share of the cost of their education or expecting the State of New Jersey to increase funding for our general operations is highly unlikely in the foreseeable future.”
“Even though our University overall is financially healthy, we must continually re-examine our institutional operations to ensure funds paid by students for their education and those received from New Jersey are expended effectively to help us achieve our strategic goals,” said Bolyai.
In the next fiscal year, the university hopes to improve retention and graduation rates, increase enrollment, continue to improve and enhance the academic reputation and image of the university and develop a diversified stream of revenue.
Bolyai wrote the university will also spend $1 million on new initiatives, including $500,000 toward increasing student scholarships, funding the Student Success Scholarship, which rewards students who completed 30 credits or more in their first year and achieved a GPA of 3.0 or higher. The other $500,000 will be used for non-recurring, one-time only expenses toward projects, equipment purchases or programs.
However, the university recognizes that they have experienced declining State funding support for many years.
“The ongoing and future financial environment facing public higher education is a significant challenge,” said Bolyai. “And we must continually re-examine our individual operations to strive for more efficiencies, consider reallocation of existing funds and seek new revenue opportunities.”
The Board of Trustees is scheduled to meet on May 1 to approve fall 2015 tuition and fees and room and board rates and will meet again June 11 to approve the fiscal year 2016 budget.