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Purdue Finance Committee reviews budget plan; trustees vote set for July 13

WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. — The Finance Committee of the Purdue University board of trustees on Thursday (July 9) reviewed a conceptual general fund operating budget for the next year. The proposal now moves to the board’s Executive Committee, which will take a final vote on the plan following a public hearing on Monday (July 13).

“Our budget proposal reflects a dual commitment to freeze or cut costs where possible while, at the same time, targeting our resources to areas that will enhance Purdue’s educational mission and the overall student experience,” said university President France A. Córdova.

The conceptual general fund budget – $1.1 billion system-wide for the coming academic year – was drafted after the state approved its biennial spending plan.

The proposal calls for a $388 increase for resident students and a $1,394 increase for nonresident students. This translates into a 5 percent resident tuition increase and a 6 percent nonresident tuition increase for continuing students each of the next two academic years at the West Lafayette campus.

The proposal calls for a $388 increase for resident students and a $1,394 increase for nonresident students. This translates into a 5 percent resident tuition increase and a 6 percent nonresident tuition increase for continuing students each of the next two academic years at the West Lafayette campus.

Although Purdue was given an apparently flat budget in the state appropriations process, 8 percent was one-time “stimulus” funding. Purdue actually received a cut of 8 percent in its recurring funding for operations, or $21 million over two years at the West Lafayette campus, said James S. Almond, Purdue’s vice president for business services and assistant treasurer.

Almond said stimulus dollars from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act would not be used to fund recurring expenses. Instead, those funds would be dedicated to one-time expenditures, such as repair and rehabilitation costs and to rebate the first-year cost of a fee for newly enrolled undergraduates back to in-state resident students.

“The Legislature has continued to be very supportive of higher education,” Córdova said. “At the same time, universities are faced with a variety of underfunded needs. All of our budget decisions were driven by a desire to leverage that state support with other funds in a way that continues to strengthen the university. Now is not the time to lose ground we have fought so hard to gain.”

System-wide general fund budgets were established with recurring funds only and exclude any federal stimulus dollars. In approving Purdue’s general fund budget, which supports educational and base operating expenditures, the trustees endorsed the following spending plans for fiscal year 2010:

  • At the West Lafayette campus: A 4.5 percent increase to $873.3 million.
  • At Purdue Calumet: A 3.1 percent increase to $78.2 million.
  • At Indiana University-Purdue University Fort Wayne: A 5.2 percent increase to $100.5 million.
  • At Purdue North Central: A 4 percent increase to $28.2 million.

Almond said the spending plans will allow the university to continue funding initiatives outlined in the campuses’ strategic plans while also providing the funding needed to offset increased operational costs. For example, staff benefits and unavoidable costs, such as fuel, utilities, insurance, plant expansion, and repair and rehabilitation, are expected to increase a total of $15.7 million on the West Lafayette campus in the upcoming fiscal year.

At West Lafayette, the proposed budget plan calls for a 5.3 percent decrease in recurring operating appropriations from the 2009 fiscal year budget and supply and expense budgets have been flatlined. The university also has previously announced that there would be no annual merit salary adjustments for all employees, however, funds will be allocated to cover both the employee and university share of significant increases in health-care costs, Córdova said.

“Despite the challenges we face, Purdue continues to offer a world-class education at a cost that compares favorably to our peers and Big Ten public institutions,” she said.

Purdue’s undergraduate resident fees this year rank ninth among all Big Ten institutions, and nonresident tuition and fees rank seventh. Among eight peer institutions across the country, Purdue fees rank sixth for both residents and nonresidents.

The general fund, which supports the academic mission of the university, represents only a portion of the university’s total system-wide operating budget. The full operating budget totals more than $1.96 billion for fiscal year 2009 and includes the general fund; sponsored programs; gifts; and revenue from residence halls, athletics, other auxiliary income and university-funded financial aid.

The total operating budget fiscal year 2010 is not yet established and will be presented at a future trustees’ meeting.

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