Proposed 2014 Budget
Dear Faculty, Staff and Students:
Governor Bill Haslam presented his proposed 2014 budget to the General Assembly in Nashville on January 28th. The General Assembly will work throughout the spring making budget amendments and approving the final budget. During the presentation, the Governor announced his new strategic workforce initiative, the “drive to 55,” which established the goal of 55 percent of Tennesseans earning an associates’ degree or higher by 2025.
On January 29, in our University Center, the Governor announced the wonderful news that his budget proposal includes $44.6 million for the Community Health Building, which will be the new home of the Loewenberg School of Nursing and the College of Communication Sciences and Disorders. The University of Memphis was required to raise $15 million from private funds to match the state funds.
Salary increases, which remain our top priority, were addressed in the budget proposal. An increase of 1.5 percent is proposed, with the State providing 60 percent of the funding, and the University generating the remainder.
The Governor also proposed capital maintenance funds of $6 million for HVAC projects in Clement, Ellington, Mitchell, Music, and the Rose Theatre. We also expect $1 million for building code and safety updates and a special non-recurring appropriation of $3 million for operations at the University of Memphis Lambuth Campus.
Going forward, all Tennessee universities will be measured and funded based on the Complete College Tennessee Act (CCTA). The performance measures relate to improvements in educational outcomes, including the number of degrees conferred (at all levels), certificates awarded, student retention and progression points, graduation rates, research, and some service efforts. During the past year, our performance reflects some positive outcomes; however, the University must improve on the measures, at a higher level, in order to realize further revenue growth. Improvements in these performance measures will require attention across the campus, from every college and division. A special appropriation of $1.9 million in non-recurring funds was recommended.
On the matter of tuition, while the Governor and the Legislature do not set tuition, the Tennessee Board of Regents (TBR) is charged with this task. TBR will set the tuition costs after the end of the legislative session when it is known how much revenue will be available through the final approved budget. However, the Governor mentioned that university tuition increases should not exceed 6 percent. We will continue to strive to keep tuition as low as possible to ensure accessibility for our students while continuing to provide quality programs.
As the budget moves through the approval process, Kevin Roper, director of our Government Relations Office, and I will stay in touch with the Tennessee Board of Regents, the Shelby County Delegation, the leaders in the General Assembly, and the Governor’s Office. Please feel free to contact Mr. Roper (firstname.lastname@example.org) or me concerning any issues. You may go to the follow website to view the Governor’s proposed budget in detail (http://tennessee.gov/stateofthestate/).
Thank you for the work you perform every day for our students. Individuals and teams of people at the University of Memphis are moving our university forward. With our continuing economic stress, it is a privilege to see so many people using their talents and efforts for the sake of our university and the students we serve.
Shirley C. Raines, President