ASU sees $4.7 million in cuts
by Anna Oakes
The General Assembly in July passed a budget that included a $65 million reduction in funding to the UNC system.
Legislators gave UNC leaders flexibility in managing the cuts across the system, but mandated that cuts not be made across the board.
Instead, the legislature required the system to consider certain factors in administering the cuts, including the freshman to sophomore retention rate, six-year graduation rate, degree efficiency, financial monitoring, spending per degree and number of Pell grant recipients.
ASU's flexibility reduction - approved by the UNC Board of Governors last week - was $3.1 million.
"The (UNC) General Administration was very transparent in how they shared their formula with the campuses," Susan McCracken, ASU vice chancellor for external affairs, said.
The legislature directed campuses to consider the following measures in implementing the flex cuts: reduce state funding for centers and institutes, speaker series and other non-academic activities; adjust faculty workloads; restructure research activities; implement cost-saving span of control measures; reduce senior and middle management positions; eliminate low-performing, redundant or low-enrollment programs; use alternative funding sources; and protect direct classroom services.
In addition, ASU must implement cost reductions through instructional and operational efficiencies identified in the UNC 2013-18 strategic plan.
Those amount to another $1.6 million in cuts for ASU.
"They'll be challenging in some ways," said Greg Lovins, vice chancellor for business affairs at ASU. "We've already implemented a lot of efficiency and improvements already."
The university did receive a state funding increase of $4.5 million for enrollment growth, however. ASU will have 150 more students enrolled this fall compared with fall 2012.
But Lovins said that funding does not supplant the other reductions in ASU's state appropriations.
"We will feel the cut," he said. "Most of the enrollment growth funding is earmarked for faculty positions and operating dollars for academic departments and the library so we can provide classroom and academic support for the additional students. Consequently, we can't use the enrollment growth funding to offset the reductions."
The campus will see more revenue from tuition and fees in 2013-14 thanks to campus-initiated increases approved in February.
Combined, tuition and fees for in-state undergraduate students increases by 6.6 percent this year. The tuition increase boosts revenue by $2.7 million, according to UNC Board of Governors materials.
Lovins said the university is still working out the details of where the cuts will fall at ASU and that leaders should know specifics by mid-September. Asked whether faculty or staff layoffs are planned, he said, "Not at this time, no."
McCracken said ASU was "very pleased" to receive $2 million in funding from the state for planning for the College of Health Sciences building, estimated to cost a total of $8 million.
She said local representatives and leaders of the legislative appropriations committees were very supportive in allocating the funding to ASU despite a significant decline in funding for capital projects in recent years.
In addition, the state budget provided $150 million for repairs and renovations to state buildings, with 40 percent of the amount designated for the UNC system.
Lovins and other ASU leaders have frequently cited the campus's mounting deferred maintenance and repair needs.
McCracken said ASU does not yet know how much it will receive in repairs and renovations funding, but that projects addressing safety and bringing facilities up to code will be prioritized.