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Budget package projects zero tuition increase
June 22, 1998

University officials last month presented their 1998-2001 budget proposal to the financial affairs committee of the Board of Trustees, a package that continues to channel resources to the University's strategic priorities, including more than $8 million to enhance UConn's information technology infrastructure and millions more to improve student access to UConn through financial aid and scholarships and to address the quality of the undergraduate program.

Additional state funding of $4.34 million, $8.48 million, and $10.78 million, respectively, is being sought to finance the University's strategic initiatives.

Those initiatives, which are tied to the University's 1995 strategic plan, include more than $4 million for new economic development and strategic business partnerships, more than $3.5 million to enhance the professional schools, and more than $6 million to improve undergraduate education and increase access to the University, as well as the additions to UConn's information technology network, Chancellor Mark Emmert told trustees during a May 27 meeting of the group's financial affairs committee.

Emmert also announced that the University's structural deficit, which hit a peak of nearly $14 million in 1995-96, has been eliminated one year ahead of schedule. He said cost-cutting and moving cautiously in refilling positions left vacant by the state's recent early retirement incentive program were the keys to its elimination. He also cited larger than anticipated savings stemming from new budget practices that let deans and directors determine how to spend funds directed to their departments.

"Perhaps not surprisingly, when you give managers control of their own budget, they become better managers," he told the committee.

The three-year package projects no increase in tuition, provided that the state assumes responsibility for offsetting the money that otherwise would be raised from higher tuition. Officials also project enrollment increases of 5 percent in each of the three years.

The priorities and initiatives addressed in the budget include:

  • Providing a challenging and supportive learning environment.

  • Recruiting and retaining outstanding students, faculty and staff.

  • Creating a superior physical environment.

  • Enhancing the University's sense of community.

  • Continuing to base resource allocation on mission and accountability;

  • Streamlining administrative functions.

  • Promoting the University's role in filling the state's economic and other needs.

  • Forging new partnerships with the state.

The latter two initiatives are partially addressed through continued funding for UConn's critical technology programs, the Connecticut Institute for Information Technology (CITI) in Stamford, and other Stamford programming needs, and at the Marine Sciences Institute at the Avery Point campus. Extra funding also will continue to be used to enhance the professional schools, especially the School of Business Administration, which is moving toward a five-year program in accounting, and the School of Pharmacy, which will begin the six-year Pharm.D. program next year.

The package, which will be discussed again during a July 20 meeting of the trustees, seeks total current services budgets for the next three years of $474.3 million in 1998-99; $499.3 million in 1999-00; and $507.8 million in 2000-01. Less than 40 percent of each year's funding is expected to come from the state.

Richard Veilleux