University Politics

Syracuse University Senate Budget Committee address financial concerns in report

Kiran Ramsey | Senior Design Editor

The committee — composed of faculty, staff and administrators — spent “considerable time” during the current academic year on the report.

The Syracuse University Senate’s budget committee addressed several concerns about the university’s finances in its report provided at Wednesday afternoon’s Senate meeting.

The committee — composed of faculty, staff and administrators — spent “considerable time” during the current academic year on the report, which includes a section on SU’s 2017-18 budget plans in addition to highlighting several areas of concern related to SU’s finances. Those areas include an increase in administrative costs, faculty salary issues and graduate student enrollment issues.

SU’s complete 2017-18 budget plans are not yet available, according to the report. The report states that the budget committee will review the complete plan when it reconvenes in the fall semester.

There are some aspects of the 2017-18 budget, though, that the committee has already reviewed, including the university’s plan to increase tuition by 3.9 percent and the total cost of attending SU by 3.4 percent for the 2017-18 academic year. The budget committee supports the implementation of those increases “to meet University fiscal plans and objectives,” the report states.

The report also states that “many members of the Senate and others on campus” are concerned about increased administrative pool costs. Those increases are mostly due to increased funding for the offices of Advancement, Human Resources and Admissions at SU — increases resulting from recommendations in the Bain & Co. report released in 2014.

“We will be asking these offices to provide information about the increases, how increases were expanded, and their mechanisms for evaluating the returns on these administrative costs during our reviews next year,” the report states.

The 2017-18 academic year budget includes an average increase of 2 percent for faculty salaries, according to the report.

SU launched a committee earlier this academic year to review faculty salary data and was tasked with reviewing the average salary of faculty members across faculty rank, gender and schools and colleges. It’s unclear, however, whether that data will be made public as it was under the Committee Z report, which was dismantled at SU in 2014.

The report states that the budget committee hasn’t received information about the new committee’s work, “other than the information shared with the Senate earlier this semester.”

“We will be asking for updates on this process during the upcoming year,” the report states.

The report also addresses graduate student enrollment. It notes that, in recent years, “there has been an emphasis” on increasing graduate student enrollment as a source of revenue. But growth targets in graduate student enrollment have not always been met in previous years, according to the report.

The committee has recommended, according to the report, that the university implement “clear guidelines and metrics” to facilitate SU’s schools and colleges in developing recruitment and admission strategies.

The report adds that “it very well may be the case” that schools and colleges should do their own recruiting of students in some circumstances, while in other cases there should be university-wide strategies. The committee recommends that the university undertake a “careful evaluation” of future marketing efforts, “perhaps as part of the overall evaluation of academic programs to be undertaken by Academic Affairs.”

“If the goal is to increase revenue then the University and the academic units must be aware or resources and costs associated with graduate recruitment, placement, etc,” the report states. “Important in such efforts will be decisions about marketing and recruitment at the graduate level and the effectiveness (costs and benefits) of efforts in these realms.”

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