By Jeff Murphy, May 2, 2018
WARRENSBURG, MO – Pending future changes in state appropriations for Missouri’s public colleges and universities, the University of Central Missouri Board of Governors has adopted its Fiscal Year 2019 budget, holding undergraduate resident tuition at a 1 percent increase, effective this fall. It also targets a $17.4 million budget reduction over FY18, based on the projected decrease in revenues and various mandatory cost increases.
Action was taken during the plenary session April 27, at which time the board also affirmed a proposed academic reorganization that will maintain the four-college structure, but transition from a departmental to a school model as an ongoing measure to create efficiencies and generate savings. Another initiative affirmed by the board relates to the new Student Success Continuum model that realigns academic student support services to a central location.
Roger Best, executive vice president and chief operating officer, presented the budget proposal during a work session on April 26. He noted that the projected total unrestricted revenue for FY19 is approximately $141.6 million. Although Missouri Gov. Eric Greitens proposed $50.1 million in state appropriations for UCM for the next fiscal year, the projected total revenue is based on proposed funding by the House of Representatives of $54.3 million. The governor, however, annually restricts 3 percent of appropriations for higher education, so the net expected appropriation for FY19 is $52.7 million.
Best said tuition will make up $73.5 million in remaining revenue, with approximately $14 million in additional revenue coming from student general fees, supplemental course fees, sales and services, and other sources.
The university in March approved the placement of a 2.1 percent increase in tuition on the books. The House’s proposal for state funding is contingent upon public institutions holding undergraduate resident tuition at a 1 percent increase for FY19.
Best noted that there has been a steady decline in state appropriations over the past two years. While UCM expected to receive $59.7 million in appropriations in FY17, actual state appropriations totaled $55.6 million, and in FY 2018, appropriations fell to $54.4 million. The university actually received less than these amounts, however, after a 3 percent withholding during both fiscal years.
Actions taken by the university to address the FY18 loss of revenue and in preparation for FY19 have been as follows:
The university will include in its targeted responses to deal with less revenue in FY19 significant reductions in operating expenditures, including reductions in expenditures for maintenance and repair, legal services, transportation to UCM-Lee’s Summit, and a reduced lease payment for the Missouri Innovation Campus due to total cost of the project coming in less than projected. Other responses include implementation of a the new Exclusive Provider Organization healthcare plan approved in August 2017, which provides cost-containment measures; elimination of vacant positions when and where feasible; elimination of currently occupied positions; restructuring of student success initiatives to improve outcomes; enhanced contribution from auxiliary operations; and enhanced focus on targeted fundraising and, gift opportunities.
Mike Godard, interim provost-chief learning officer, presented the “Department to School Restructuring Plan,” to the board during the work session. This initiative is a way to create annual savings in the area of academic performance by reducing administrative overhead costs. Although there was discussion in recent weeks about the possibility of reconfiguring the four-college structure into three colleges, input from faculty members, students, and the Faculty Senate was instrumental in helping to produce alternatives to the initial restructuring model.
The plan affirmed by the board will enable colleges to remain as they are with the same names, but there will be a restructuring of academic departments into a total of 17 schools throughout the colleges. This plan is expected to generate $500,000 to $600,000 in annual administrative savings. Godard said it also enables the university to move forward quickly into FY19 in a coordinated and seamless manner that will have minor impact on the academic life of students and their academic programs.
The board also affirmed the Student Success Continuum plan as a way to provide a more holistic approach for reaching students where they are in their education at UCM. With the new design, the university will move toward a streamlined approach for serving students rather than several departments providing different services. As part of this effort, the MAPS Office, Gateway Advising and Major Exploration Center, UCM Advantage Program and the separate colleges’ advising offices will not exist in the fall. UCM will continue to provide these services centrally as a part of its Student Success Continuum. This provides the opportunity to build strong relationships and for each student to have a central navigator to their overall academic success, while reducing duplication of efforts. It allows the university to provide a more personalized way to provide each student the right amount of assistance they need to help them stay on track and succeed at UCM.
Implementing the Student Success Continuum is expected to generate about $250,000 in annual savings. One of the major benefits is to help increase student retention and completion. The university has set a goal to retain 80 percent of its students. It is estimated that for every percent increase in student retention, there is an $800,000 increase in revenue.
In other business, the board approved a contract award to Crossroad Tours to provide shuttle bus service between Warrensburg and Lee’s Summit six days a week for an initial one-year period, with four one-year renewal options through May 2023. Currently, Apple Bus Company provides this service at a cost of $297,700 per year, and averages 116 round trips per month, according to Shari Bax, vice provost for student experience and engagement. It is anticipated that there will be a decrease in the number of trips during the next academic year. The first-year cost with Crossroads is projected at $196,128. This will be funded by a combination of ridership fees and funds from the transportation budget. To help cover operating costs, UCM will increase ridership fees from $10 per round trip to $12.50 per round trip and semester per rider passes will increase from $160 to $240.