University did not pull from reserves
Tamonda Griffiths – News Writer
During the State of the University Address, President Joe Bertolino said the university ended the 2017-18 fiscal year with a “modest surplus” and did not have to take money from the reserves.
Executive Vice President for Finance and Administration Mark Rozewski, said the reserves are the university’s “last resort.”
“An example of why you would have to dip into reserves is if the legislature took some of the money they gave us back,” said Rozewski.
That, he said, has happened many times since he has been at Southern.
He said the reasons the state legislature may take back some of the university’s funding would be because of possible miscalculations of economic effects on state revenues or they decide another state agency needs the money more.
“The university has two different, major sources of revenue,” said Rozewski. “One is the fee that students pay, and the other is the money that the state legislature gives us.”
According to Rozewski, this year’s budget is about $227 million.
Rozewski said this is an increase of about $5-7 million from last year’s budget—which comes from a four percent increase in tuition and fees.
“How do we do more with less?” said Wafeek Abdelsayed, an accounting professor and a member of the university’s Budget and Planning Committee.
Abdelsayed said while the committee does not make direct decisions on the budget, one thing they do talk about is the effect of enrollment on it.
“As enrollments go down, our budget—what we get allocated from the state—goes down,” said Abdelsayed.
According to Rozewski, enrollment has been dropping every year since 2006.
He said this is a result of the number of high school graduates in both Connecticut and New England have been “shrinking for a long time.”
“If you raise tuition by four percent, but enrollment declines by four percent, you have, actually have no new money,” said Rozewski.
Along with tuition and fees increasing, he said expenses are also increasing. He said some of these expenses include raises to the faculty’s salary, health insurance, and/or cost of retirement benefits.
“Our expenses keep increasing while the revenue doesn’t increase at the same rate,” said Rozewski. “It usually increases at a lesser rate.”
Rozewski said the increase in tuition and fees does correlate to the increase in expenses, however, this issue is “not unique to us and not especially bad here.”
Philosophy major, Michael Sheehan said he is never happy about a tuition hike.
“I’m going to be choosing less [tuition] – paying less money every opportunity,” said Sheehan.
Peter McEachern, a senior, and psychology major said although increased tuition does “suck”, it is something he expects to happen because of lack of state funding.
“You never want that, but it, stuff happens,” said McEachern. “Hopefully, any new leadership we get after this [midterm] election will be – will have their priorities in the right place and they can work to stop that.”
Photo Credit: Tamonda Griffiths