The New York state budget won’t be announced until January, but on Tuesday, Binghamton University President Harvey Stenger set expectations for future tuition changes at the semiannual full-faculty meeting.
The majority of the address explained findings from the most recent financial report issued by the school and how those findings will effect changes to the budget. Attendees included BU Faculty Senate members, professors and administrators.
The report compiles data on the University’s sources of revenue from the last six years. In the past, the majority of revenue came from in-state undergraduate tuition and state allocations. Now, however, these funds have been reduced because the money from the NYSUNY 2020 Challenge Grant Program has already been allocated, and there is a state budget deficit of over $4 billion.
According to Stenger, all SUNY schools will feel the effects of the current budget issues.
“Soon, we’ll probably be having to share some of that burden,” Stenger said. “We don’t know what part of that burden, but we do know we’re part of the state funding.”
Stenger said increases in New York state residents’ undergraduate tuition have allowed the University to grow its faculty in the last few years, but that long-term, tuition-based growth is finished. The University will now look for revenue in new places, including graduate enrollment, sponsored research and capitalization of intellectual property, patents and licensing. BU will also look to increase out-of-state undergraduate enrollment, as well as continue to grow graduate enrollment.
The long-term future of undergraduate in-state tuition rates, however, remains uncertain, as tuition will be decided by the SUNY Board of Trustees on a yearly basis. For this academic year, a tuition increase of $200 was approved.
Stenger affirmed that students enrolled in the Excelsior Scholarship program will not be affected by the tuition increase. Almost 1,000 BU students are receiving the scholarship.
To accommodate revenue changes, expenditures in nonacademic units, such as student affairs and athletics, will be reduced by 1 to 2 percent per year for the next four years. As each academic college determines its target for enrollment growth, its expenditure reductions will be decided.
KarenBeth Bohan, founding chair and professor of pharmacy practice in the School of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences, was one of the many faculty members in attendance. She said Stenger’s address gave an optimistic slant to the uncertainty surrounding the 2018-19 budget.
“We’re working through the difficulties with the budget in terms of coming out of the governor’s office and everything,” Bohan said. “I think we’ll be fine.”
Stenger also discussed the increase in presidential statements released to the campus community over the last year. There have been 16 statements issued since January, which ranged from responses to offensive acts on campus, including the three racists drawings found in the month of October, to statements on federal policies, such as President Donald Trump’s controversial travel ban. He encouraged faculty to send him any concerns he may be able to address.
“If you see something out there, maybe it hasn’t crossed my desk yet, but if you see something out there impacting the University, higher education, our students, our faculty, our community, let me know about it,” Stenger said.