On January 30th, Governor Bill Haslam presented his proposed 2013 budget to the General Assembly. *The General Assembly will work through the Spring making budget amendments and approving the final budget. The Governor emphasized the importance of lean and efficient operations, focusing on customer service.
Below are some of the main points from Governor Haslam’s proposed budget related to the University of Memphis.
- A recurring state funding reduction equaling 2.1% of current state appropriations is proposed ($1.8M). The recurring funding appropriation the Governor recommended for higher education to recognize improvements to educational outcomes is $2.1M. Measures of these outcomes include number of degrees and certificates awarded, student retention and progression points, graduation rates and research and service efforts.
- Salary increases, which remain one of our top priorities, were addressed by the Governor with a proposed salary increase of 2.5% with the State providing 55% of the funding and each University contributing the remainder.
- Two other items included in the Governor’s proposed budget are additional funding for need-based student financial aid administered through TSAA, Tennessee Student Assistance Awards, and a special appropriation of $4M for operations at the University of Memphis, Lambuth Campus.
- Capital outlay funds of $1.2M are proposed for planning the Biochemistry and Biology Building. Additionally, capital maintenance funds of $8M are proposed for elevator modernization, underground utility upgrades and HVAC updates.
While the Governor and the Legislature do not set tuition, TBR will set the tuition costs after the end of the legislative session when it is known exactly how much revenue is available through the final approved budget. We will continue to strive to keep tuition as low as possible for our students while still providing a quality education.
As we have discussed previously, the new funding formula is based mostly on retention and graduation rates. We will continue to aggressively pursue increased student retention and graduation while we also grow in enrollment.
Looking forward to the next academic year 2012-2013, our strategic priorities will remain the same: keeping students on track for graduation; focusing on student recruitment and retention; and maximizing growth in the areas of Nursing, Public Health and Distance Learning. We will continue to work to keep our productive research programs funded and seize opportunities in areas that lead to funded research and enrollment growth.
We are very fortunate at the University of Memphis to have dedicated faculty and staff members. I am grateful to all of you for your commitment to providing a quality education for our students. Thank you for your perseverance and dedication.
Shirley C. Raines, President
*You may read the text of Governor Haslam’s speech at: http://forward.tn.gov/stateofthestate/files/2012StateoftheStateAddress.pdf