Tuesday, the Board of Trustees adopted the 2009-2010 operating budget which must be sent to the Board of Governors later this month. The UWF Board of Trustees also adopted a 5 percent technology fee and opted to raise in-state undergraduate tuition 7 percent. The budget signed by the Governor last week included an additional 8 percent tuition increase for all students in state universities. In essence, this means that tuition will increase this fall by 15 percent for undergraduate Florida residents who enrolled after June 1, 2007 and who are not on prepaid contracts purchased by that date. This was a difficult decision both for the trustees and for me in recommending an additional 7 percent tuition increase for in-state undergraduate students. However, because of the severe reductions in our state funding that we have experienced in the last three years, our ability to continue our trademark of quality education would be critically jeopardized had we done otherwise.
Unfortunately the funds we will receive from the increased tuition will not completely cover the loss of our recurring state revenue, which was cut by 13 percent. After the tuition increase is factored into our budget, we will still have 9 percent or $6.37 million less next year. This reduction, coupled with those from the last two fiscal years takes us back to our 2002 funding levels when we had 1,200 fewer students. We have now lost more than $15 million in recurring state support in the last three years.
Now, as you may know, we have been planning all year for 7 percent and 12 percent reduction scenarios. This has prepared us well for our current reality. When we realized the actual budget reduction for next year is going to be 9 percent, and knowing how much we have already cut in the two previous years, we chose to put about a third of our federal stimulus funds into the operating budget for next year to lower the cut to 7 percent and to save approximately 25 jobs. We feel that the expected enrollment increase next year will fill the 2 percent gap in our budget that is being temporarily filled with the stimulus funds, so we will not be dependent on the stimulus funds in the future.
The past two years of budget reductions have been across the board cuts and consisted mainly of vacant faculty and staff positions; however, that cannot be done for next year. As promised, our approach for next year's reductions is strategic, not across the board, in order to protect the core functions of our university.
Therefore, we have been working for months using the National Association of College and University Business Officers (NACUBO) to classify all of our units into nationally defined categories of direct instruction, academic support, student support, public service, research, plant operations and maintenance and institutional support. We then discounted the reductions to the core units that provide direct instruction, academic support and student support. This discounting also required that the other units had to take a bigger cut to reach the overall 7 percent reduction figure. The reductions are as follows:
Direct Instruction - 5.75%
Academic Support - 6.5%
Student Support - 6.75%
Public Service - 8%
Research - 8%
PO&M - 10%
Institutional Support - 10.7%
These reductions are not easy, but they are necessary, and I reiterate, they are strategic. Also, you've heard a great deal in the media about the American Reinvestment Recovery Act, also known as the federal stimulus funds. We did receive $4.5 million in non-recurring federal stimulus funds this year. We have decided to use these funds in three significant ways.
1. To save and protect jobs (approximately 25 jobs) to reduce budget cuts
2. To provide humane separation payouts
3. Strategic Investments that will bring new students and revenue to the institution
Unfortunately, the budget reductions will require us to reduce our workforce by 26 of our colleagues. We will also eliminate 39.5 more vacant positions. As you know, we have already eliminated 70 vacant lines over the last two years. This minimizes our operational flexibility, requires heavier workloads and our service levels will diminish. Despite these reductions please recognize that 98 percent of UWF faculty and staff will remain gainfully employed.
The notifications for the workforce reductions will be made by July 31, 2009. The Pensacola News Journal reported the date incorrectly in yesterday's story. Please keep in mind that these reductions are based upon the current information and planned budget. However, should the Governor issue funding holdbacks, as he has in the past two years, there could be further impacts. We will continue to be mindful and watchful of the situation.
I also want to share some good news. Yesterday morning we broke ground on a new housing facility that is slated to open in fall of 2010. We will need this housing because the number of students visiting our campus is up 25 percent, our acceptance rate is up 11 percent and our orientation visits are up by 12 percent. This bodes well for our future and is a testament to the focus we have placed on recruitment and visibility of our great institution.
In the days ahead, we will schedule a town hall meeting for the campus to address your questions and concerns. Please accept my thanks and gratitude for the work you do every day.