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Potential 4% Reduction to Operating Budgets for Fiscal Year 04-05

TO: Faculty and Staff
FROM: Stephen T. Hulbert, President

Nicholls State University has been notified of its preliminary operating budget for fiscal year 04-05 by the Office of Planning and Budget for the State of Louisiana. Mandated, unfunded cost increases for group insurance (active and retired employees), employer retirement contributions as well as cost increases for civil service merits/annualization presently total $1,689,094. Other additional state funded adjustments reduce that figure slightly, and as of this writing, the net impact on our proposed fiscal year 04-05 operating budget from these state level actions is a negative impact of $1,565,310.

A 3% tuition increase has already been approved and this will help offset slightly less than 38-40% of the impact, however we are facing additional increases in scholarships, accreditation related cost, inflationary cost and utility cost.

Because of all these things, and after careful consideration, the President’s Cabinet has agreed that a contingency plan needs to be formulated whereby the University can reduce its budget while retaining its focus on the maintenance of FTEs with no reduction of services. At this time, I am requesting that the vice presidents reduce their area budgets by 4% for fiscal year 04-05. The 4% reduction will be based on 4% of each area’s total budget for fiscal year 03-04.

The potential for budget reductions has been there in the past and, often, the necessary resources have been found. Obviously, this leaves the University community wondering why affect cuts this time. The answer is that with absolutely no assurances that resources will be appropriated this year, I must protect the financial and operating integrity of the University. To do otherwise would put Nicholls and its academic programs at risk.

I very much appreciate that this action will create significant hardship campus-wide. That is why I have agreed to an approach that leaves the decisions to the deans and their respective vice presidents. Please keep in mind that this is strictly a contingency plan at this point in time. Thank you for your cooperation and patience in this difficult matter.

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