AcademicsBudget

University Funding: A balanced budget and looking toward salary increases

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Photo courtesy of morguefile.com.
Photo courtesy of morguefile.com.

Colorado State University-Pueblo budget goals for this year are mainly revolved around benefiting the faculty and staff.

Warren Buffett once said, “Invest in yourself as much as you can, you are your own biggest asset by far.” That is precisely what CSU-Pueblo is planning to do with the overall budget this fiscal year.

Vice President of Finance and Administration Karl Spiecker stated CSU-Pueblo needs to invest in salary increases for faculty and staff.

“These increases include across the board cost of living adjustments, and pay equity increases to implement recommendations and findings from an Equity Study Report that was commissioned by President DiMare,” said Spiecker.

In maintaining a balanced budget for the 2016-2017 fiscal year, the online budget planning tool projects a deficit of $250,000 for specifically the 2017 fiscal year, due to a 1 percent salary increase for staff.

“These salary increases are contingent upon actual revenues exceeding the estimates that were used when the budget was finalized in May 2016,” said Spiecker.

The online budget planning tool additionally shows a projected $1,240,000 increase in new resources and a $1,490,000 increase in new expense for the 2017 fiscal year.

“The incremental budget summarizes anticipated changes in revenues and expenses. The new resources come primarily from tuition and fees. The new expenditures for the year include increases for financial aid, fringe benefits for faculty and staff, overtime costs and other mandatory costs, utilities, insurance…” Spiecker said.

Though budget changes are uncertain and rely on a variety of factors, another financial challenge has burdened the university in recent years.

Colorado State University-Pueblo budget goals for this year are mainly revolved around benefiting the faculty and staff.

Warren Buffett once said, “Invest in yourself as much as you can, you are your own biggest asset by far.” That is precisely what CSU-Pueblo is planning to do with the overall budget this fiscal year.

Vice President of Finance and Administration Karl Spiecker stated CSU-Pueblo needs to invest in salary increases for faculty and staff.

“These increases include across the board cost of living adjustments, and pay equity increases to implement recommendations and findings from an Equity Study Report that was commissioned by President DiMare,” said Spiecker.

In maintaining a balanced budget for the 2016-2017 fiscal year, the online budget planning tool projects a deficit of $250,000 for specifically the 2017 fiscal year, due to a 1 percent salary increase for staff.

“These salary increases are contingent upon actual revenues exceeding the estimates that were used when the budget was finalized in May 2016,” said Spiecker.

The online budget planning tool additionally shows a projected $1,240,000 increase in new resources and a $1,490,000 increase in new expense for the 2017 fiscal year.

“The incremental budget summarizes anticipated changes in revenues and expenses. The new resources come primarily from tuition and fees. The new expenditures for the year include increases for financial aid, fringe benefits for faculty and staff, overtime costs and other mandatory costs, utilities, insurance…” Spiecker said.

Though budget changes are uncertain and rely on a variety of factors, another financial challenge has burdened the university in recent years.

“The most significant challenge is the need for additional state funding for public institutions of higher education,” Spiecker explained. “More funding from the state would enable us to invest in the campus and could alleviate the need for future tuition increases.”

According to recent reports by The National Center for Higher Education Management Systems, Colorado currently ranks 48th in higher education funding spending approximately $3,774 per full-time student enrolled.

That is 40 percent lower than the national average declared in the same reports as $6,290. Despite the lack of state funding, CSU-Pueblo had many successes with the budget recently, including one-time salary adjustments for faculty and staff last December, receiving funding for various projects including the information technology upgrades, enhancements, and the renovation of the Occhiato University Center according to Spiecker.

The University received $900,000 from the state and $300,000 from Pueblo County for cannabis research.

A recent housing policy change made it mandatory for all first-year students who have an address outside of Pueblo County to live on campus for at least two years. More students will be living on campus and already are. Spiecker says the occupancy in the residence halls has increased this year by 50 students. Overall enrollment impacts a huge portion of the university budget, and student fees will ultimately drive up revenue in the long run if the projections about filling the residence halls are correct.

For now, the campus budget focus remains on strengthening the university at the very core staff and faculty, and adjusting as needed for any unpredictabilities that might follow this coming fiscal year.