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UMBC faced with $3.3 million budget shortfall

Due to the recent coinciding occurrences of a lower than projected enrollment total and a mid-year budget cut to the University System of Maryland by Governor Larry Hogan and the Board of Public Works, UMBC must now manage a $3.3-million shortfall for the current fiscal year.

According to a recent email issued to UMBC Faculty and Staff by President Freeman A. Hrabowski and Provost/Senior Vice President for Academic Affairs Philip Rous, the current total student enrollment at UMBC is 1.4% less than projected when building the 2017 fiscal year budget. Additionally, institution enrollment for in-state students is said to be down by 0.4% while out-of-state enrollment is down further by 9.8%. In the message, due to the per student tuition revenue from out-of-state students being significantly higher than those enrolled as in-state students, the impact of the enrollment decline on budgeted revenues is more severe.

However, to respond and combat the current monetary predicament that surrounds UMBC’s budget, President Hrabowski and Provost Rous have stated that they will lead and plan to continue the guiding principles that had once founded and established UMBC’s campus community — that is, to protect UMBC’s academic programs and their people. With that said, the two wrote that there will be no layoffs as a result of the budget shortfall according to the email.

“The amount of the reduction is less than one percent of our total budget, thus we are not overly concerned.  We will continue to protect our students, faculty, staff, and academic programs. There will not be any pay cuts or layoffs related to this cut,” said Vice President of Communications Candace Dodson-Reed on behalf of the budget update.

At the moment, the Council of Vice Presidents and Deans has developed a series of actions which aim to close the institution’s current budget gap. With the last fiscal year’s utility savings, half of UMBC’s tuition shortfall will be covered by a $1-million enrollment reserve fund. As for the remaining $2.3 million, the reduction will be distributed across UMBC’s colleges and divisions. Each will be managing a 1.5% reduction using numerous one-time funding sources such as prior-year carry forward balances, reserves, revolving funds, and salary savings from vacant positions.

The last item of business mentioned in President Hrabowski and Provost Rous’ message referred to the hiring freeze/exception process [which was in place from 2006 to 2015] will be reinstated on November 28, 2016 and the process exclusively addresses UMBC staff positions. In addition, a committee comprised of the Provost, the Vice President for Finance and Administration and the Associate Vice President for Human Resources is set to review exception requests for critical positions at the institution. Relevant details about the previously mentioned process are scheduled to be shared soon.

The mindset to overcome the predicament aims to be with steady focus on the quality of the school’s academic experience and the overall well-being of its native community. President Hrabowski and Provost Rous are appear to be confident that UMBC will be able to move through this challenge swiftly and soon as the school has weathered previous trials in the past.