UVM faces budget cuts

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(Host) The University of Vermont faces a serious financial challenge and officials plan to trim its budget by 4% in the next year fiscal year.

VPR’s John Dillon reports:

(Dillon) The memo from UVM President Daniel Fogel to the trustee’s executive committee was stark. Fogel said the financial crisis sweeping the country has also hit colleges and universities with damaging force.

The president told the trustees the news is bad – and will only get worse in the months ahead.

The school faces a potential $22 million shortfall in the 2010 fiscal year. Officials plan to cut about half that much from the $280 million budget next year. Richard Cate is UVM’s vice president for finance and administration.

(Cate) "We are proposing to reduce spending by $11 million. We are proposing to take on a few more students and increase the revenue side of the equation. And then we are proposing in 2010 and 2011 to use some of our reserves to fill the rest of the gap until we get to full balance in 2012."

(Dillon) Cate said UVM is anticipating additional cuts in its state appropriation and is also facing a decline in its investment portfolio. Its cost of borrowing money has also gone up.

Cate said officials will act strategically as they trim the budget.

(Cate) "We’re looking at everything, it’s not about elimination of academic programs or anything like that. But there certainly will be some faculty and staff that we would have otherwise hired that we won’t be hiring and we will be reducing our operating expenses and looking at some affiliations with other entities that may not continue. We will probably have less in consulting fees."

(Dillon) The school plans to raise tuition by 6 percent in the next fiscal year. Cate says UVM will increase enrollment by about 300 students to bring in more revenue.

He said officials will report back to the trustees in early December on the progress of the budget cuts.

For VPR News, I’m John Dillon.

AP Photo/Toby Talbot

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