$303 million budget

As the University’s supposed $7.8 million “budget gap” made local news headlines in late spring, many were left wondering how UVM finances would withstand lagging enrollment and increased financial aid in fiscal year 2014.

While these factors would have contributed to a slight drop in UVM’s general fund revenue, relatively minor cuts made to several programs and operating budgets have allowed the University to stay out of the red. 

The result? A balanced budget of $303 million in total expenditures for fiscal year 2014. 

The balanced budget included cutting around $1 million from deferred maintenance which is around $250 million in total, according to a 2012 Burlington Free Press Article, half a million from custodial services, operational cuts in academic units and cuts to the operating budgets of athletics, the UVM FY14 Proposed Budget stated.  

Other factors that added to the financial shortfall is the number of students returning to UVM is 90 fewer than anticipated and the financial aid needed by students was much higher than originally anticipated, Vice President of Finance and Administration Richard Cate said. 

The University had been deliberately making efforts to decrease its student body to become more selective in upcoming academic years, he said. 

“We had a purposeful intent to get down to 9,800 [students],” Cate said. “But we actually got fewer.”

While in-state enrollment increased slightly, out-of-state enrollment lagged causing a different combination of in-state versus out-of-state student enrollment than the University witnessed in the past, he said.  

Because the budget is balanced on a projection of data that isn’t concrete until the add/drop period ends, the board has to examine what the gap might be and decide how to reduce the budget based on the predicted information, he said.

“It was too disruptive to cut the budget, so we used what we call “one-time money”, revenues, to balance the budget,” Cate said.

The budget that the Board of Trustees came up with was adopted and put into use for FY14.

Sophomore Rachel Rhodes said she is concerned about how budget cuts will affect her.

“I hope they try to cut things that won’t affect the majority of the student body,” she said. “I personally don’t want this [deficit] to affect my major or the classes offered to me.”

The balanced budget also calls for tuition rates to increase 2.9 percent for both in-state and out-of-state students, according to the Proposed Budget.

“We have to look even harder into what we have to do next year,” Cates said.