The Indiana State Budget Committee reviewed during their Wednesday meeting, a 7% cut in state appropriations for all higher education institutions presented by the State Budget Director. The cut reduces the University of Southern Indiana’s appropriation by $3,425,323. State appropriations fund nearly half of the University’s annual operating budget. Tuition and fees, based on overall student enrollment and number of credit-hours, accounts for the majority of the balance. Official enrollment and credit-hour numbers will not be known until the Fall 2020 census day in late September.
“The State appropriation is an important piece of the equation for building our budget beyond December, but the unknown variable that remains is the number of students who will choose USI this fall,” said Steve Bridges, Vice President for Finance and Administration.
On May 28, the USI Board of Trustees approved an interim University operating budget for the upcoming Fall Semester, ensuring all faculty and staff are paid in full through December 31, 2020. At the time of the announcement, Ronald S. Rochon, USI President said, “The approval of the interim budget is vital for USI’s employees to have a sense of security so they can continue offering academic excellence and services to our students. In a time where unemployment rates are at historic highs, thanks to our Trustees, we will be whole until the end of the year.”
In its decision to cut higher education appropriations, the State took into account funds received by universities through the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act, federal legislation that established and funded emergency financial aid grants to students, as well as funds to the University to help cover expenses related to the disruption of campus operations due to COVID-19. However, use of those dollars are restricted for COVID-19 relief and cannot be used for general operating budget needs.
The Board is expected to approve a final 20-21 budget during their regular meeting November 5.
Photo Credit: USI Photography and Multimedia