So how did the University suddenly come up with $7.8 million?
In a last minute scramble, the board of trustees made the necessary cuts and adjustments to balance the large deficit for fiscal year 2014.
According to a June 2013 VT Digger article, the deficit arose because of lower-than-expected enrollment, less out-of-state students and higher-than-expected financial aid needs. Not to mention the difficulties that Washington sent down with the recent sequester.
These are all reasonable causes, especially due to a universal increase in out-of-state recruiting and a nationwide need for financial assistance.
And it is reasonable to expect that the University will need to make cuts in order to compensate for this particular deficit and the more problematic deficits that are sure to arise in the coming years, as this becomes more of an issue.
What we at the Cynic expect is complete transparency from the administration and the board, both in terms of what programs and departments will suffer at the hands of FY14.
What makes the budget situation even more difficult is President SullivanÕs initiatives to increase the quality and selectivity of UVM while simultaneously aiming to keep tuition hikes low.
The Cynic wants to be clear in saying that these initiatives are valuable and should continue, even in the face of potential deficits.
We must maintain an upward track in increasing the UniversityÕs value, and attracting a more selective class of students is a big part of that. Focusing on the quality of academic programs, faculty and resources will serve to bolster UVMÕs Public Ivy reputation.
This means that cuts will need to come from somewhere and, at least in the short-term, tuition may not decrease as rapidly as students may hope. Although, it is important to acknowledge the success in the fact that the FY 2014 tuition increase, at 2.9 percent, is the lowest in nearly four decades.
Students deserve to know exactly how they will be affected by this yearÕs cuts, what may change for them in future budget cuts and a voice in deciding how their UVM experienceÑin terms of financial concerns, academic opportunities and life on campusÑwill be altered at the hands of a nationwide concern with the cost of higher education.