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Provost, faculty discuss budget cuts

Just a day after the Board of Trustees met to discuss the financial future of USF, Provost S. David Stamps expressed his concern about drastic budget cuts.

At a Faculty Senate executive committee meeting Wednesday, Stamps broke down the numbers.

“It is not a good budget, so we’re kind of in limbo now,” Stamps said.

The proposed state budget would cut $148.8 million from higher education. Stamps said the budget at USF’s Tampa campus would be reduced by $16.6 million and an additional $4.8 million reduction in the Health Sciences Center.

“The problem is that’s not all of the reduction,” Stamps said. “We over enrolled last year with the idea we would get enrollment funds for the next year that was worth $5 million.”

USF over-enrolled by 1,200 students Stamps said, but because of the budget recommended by Education Secretary Jim Horne, Stamps said this year USF will not receive any enrollment enhancement funds, which rolls the budget reduction up to $21 million for USF.

An additional loss in funds will also come with the recommendations for the reduction of issued awards, such as Bright Futures scholarships.

Stamps said the Education Department recommended funding for Bright Futures at the same level it was funded last year, which will cause problems if there is a 12.5 percent tuition increase. Stamps said that will cost the university another $2.2 million.

Another problem Stamps said USF has this year is retention. However, it is a recurring problem, he said.

A Provost Faculty Retention Committee, Stamps said, was formed so faculty can help look and report on retention at USF.

However, the administration plans to work on recruiting higher quality students for USF.

“We don’t need to be out on Fowler (Avenue) stopping people and asking them to come in,” Stamps said. “Now we can be selective.”

Faculty Senate President Greg Paveza said although the university wants to be selective in recruitment, there is also a need for funding. This was also mentioned at Tuesday’s BOT executive committee meeting.

“Unfortunately, we still remain in a state system, and if you don’t continue to grow, you are then penalized for failing to meet admissions corridors and you go back to losing money,” Paveza said. “It’s a catch-22. We need to limit and stop growth but if we fail to grow ,we’re going to lose money.”

In other business, Paveza said that last week’s Faculty Senate general meeting served as the beginning for future discussions to seek balance between faculty administration and the Board.

In order to move closer to that goal, Susan Greenbaum, vice president for faculty senate and Elizabeth Bird, senator-at-large, were appointed to a workgroup committee that will keep in contact with the Provost and the Board.