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Contact: Christine Payton August 6, 2009
(337) 482-6397, payton@louisiana.edu
 
BUDGET REALITY: TIME FOR CAREFUL PLANNING, INNOVATIVE THINKING
 
Dr. Joseph Savoie, president of the University of Louisiana at Lafayette, announced plans today to implement state budget cuts across campus.

The plans come after UL Lafayette’s state budget was cut by $4.3 million in January along with an additional $7.5 million cut following the legislative session that ended in June. The university must also absorb $2.9 million in state-mandated, but unfunded costs – for a total year-to-year budget reduction of $14.7 million.

New fees and tuition increases will generate $3.2 million, so the net reduction is $11.5 million for UL Lafayette’s $99 million budget.

Savoie said the university has two choices in dealing with this budget reality.

“ One choice is to let this crisis become an excuse for mediocrity and wait for someone or something to rescue us. The other choice is to view this challenge as an opportunity for carefully conceived actions and innovative thinking that will maintain our current progress and allow us to continue efforts to meet goals established by our new institutional strategic plan,” he said. “We must choose the second option.”

Savoie acknowledged the work of nine UL Lafayette Budget Task Forces that he created last January in anticipation of possible budget cuts. These Budget Task Forces were charged with developing short-term and long-term cost savings and additional revenue.

He noted that several task force recommendations have been incorporated into UL Lafayette’s budget. Those task forces were composed of representatives from throughout the university’s community.

“ Our goals were to protect our core academic mission, minimize the impact on our students, and protect our faculty and staff, who are our most important asset in providing quality academic services,” he said.

The university administration based the budget plan on three primary elements: cuts to meet actual budget reductions, cost avoidance measures to reduce operational expenses and increased revenue generation.

Specifically, the plan calls for:

• freezing vacant positions for a $2 million savings;

• reducing $2.1 million in funds set aside for deferred maintenance projects;

• reducing university sponsored research and economic development investments by $1.5 million;

• implementing a 10 percent cut to each college’s and department’s operating budget (excluding personnel and contractually mandated expenses);

• deferring across-the-board merit increases for faculty and unclassified administrative staffers; and

• reducing maximum support staff merit increases from 4 percent to 2 percent.

Other options for cost savings include consolidating or eliminating programs with historically small participation, merging administrative and academic departments, decreasing the number of dropped classes each semester, eliminating waste, negotiating bulk purchases, maximizing teaching loads and lab usage, and increasing class sizes where appropriate.

Savoie said the university will also invest in efforts to increase enrollment by implementing aggressive and sophisticated recruitment efforts, increasing fund raising, providing incentives for increasing research proceeds, partnering with private enterprises to maximize the commercial potential of select university assets and increasing revenue from facility rentals.

“ Additional ideas and strategies will evolve as we move forward,” said Savoie. “But if we stay true to our core values and are receptive to necessary change, I am confident that UL Lafayette will emerge a stronger, better university.”

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About UL Lafayette
The University of Louisiana at Lafayette is the second largest university in the state, with over 16,000 students. It ’s a public institution that awards bachelor’s, master’s and doctoral degrees. It includes diverse offerings from the humanities to scientific research and leads the nation in areas like computer science, biology and nursing. Its student-athletes – Louisiana’s Ragin’ Cajuns – compete in NCAA Division I, the highest level of collegiate competition.
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

Document last revised Tuesday, August 11, 2009 7:23 AM

Copyright 2003 by the University of Louisiana at Lafayette
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