Dear LAS faculty and staff,
The beginning of the semester is approaching, and the first month of the new fiscal year is already almost behind us. In this message, I would like to share some budget information for the college, following up on the message from President Wintersteen from July 10, 2020.
As President Wintersteen wrote, “the development of the FY21 budget was an extremely difficult process.” This was true for the college as well. Many of you know that approximately 90% of the general fund budget of the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences comes from tuition; the remainder are a portion of ISU’s state appropriations (8%) and indirect cost returns from grants and contracts (2%). Declining enrollments have impacted our revenue significantly, and as a consequence, our FY21 direct expenditure budget is 9.6% or $11.4 million lower than that of FY20. This is a significant decrease, and we will need to reduce our costs, increase revenues and identify additional efficiencies.
Measures that we will be taking include:
- Not filling most vacant positions
- Reducing discretionary expenses
- Delaying most renovations and other facilities projects
- Deploying flexible revenue from the Transforming Liberal Arts and Sciences (TLAS) Endowment to offset cuts to the general fund
- Leveraging donor funds to support undergraduate recruiting
- Leveraging donor funds to create new undergraduate majors in areas of strong student interest
As more information about the proposed new Retirement Incentive Option (RIO) becomes available, we will learn how many faculty and staff in LAS plan to avail themselves of this opportunity, and that will determine the specifics of further budget planning.
If you have worked in higher education for some time, you know that budget cuts are a fact of life. We have weathered previous rounds, and we will weather this one as well. With a thoughtful, collaborative approach to decision making, we will continue to fulfill our mission of teaching, research and service, and when times improve, we will be stronger than ever.
I am truly honored to work with a superb team of department chairs, directors and college leaders, and I want to thank each and every one of you for your efforts and your understanding as we navigate the challenges of the coming year.
In my next message, I will share some updates, regarding the fall semester. And here is Micah last Friday afternoon around 5pm, telling me that I should stop working and instead feed her dinner.
With best wishes,