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onCampus--Ohio State's faculty/staff news

Vol. 38, No. 18

By: David Bhaerman

Trustees approve FY 2005 spending plan

Budget continues to focus on generating alternative resources

Ohio State’s Board of Trustees completed its current funds budget process for the 2004-05 fiscal year by approving the university’s annual spending and income framework at its meeting Sept. 22 at the Longaberger Alumni House. For the whole university — including regional campuses, hospitals and other auxiliary units — revenues are projected to be $3.06 billion, while expenditures are set at $3.04 billion. Because there is virtually no increase in state support from last year, the university will continue to focus its efforts on generating revenues from other sources.

“For the next year, the university will continue to make progress on its strategic goals and will continue to diversify our revenue sources so that a larger share of our revenues will come from sources other than state funds — including private fund raising and sponsored research,” said Bill Shkurti, senior vice president for business and finance.

For example, federal research contracts have grown in recent years, now accounting for 10.2 percent of the university’s budget but 13 percent of this year’s revenue growth. This year, tuition and fee income accounts for 19.1 percent of the revenue budget, while state support accounts for 15.4 percent.
He also pointed out that Ohio State’s undergraduate tuition — at $7,542 for in-state students entering this fall — places the university fifth in a ranking of Ohio’s other selective admission public universities. Miami’s tuition is highest, followed by Cincinnati, Bowling Green and Ohio University.

“Ohio State is ranked higher than any other Ohio public university in academic reputation,” Shkurti said, “yet our resident continuing undergraduate tuition and fees are below those of four other public universities in Ohio. This makes Ohio State an excellent value for students and taxpayers.”

In recent years, in recognition of Ohio State’s historically low tuition, particularly as the state’s flagship institution, the university was granted an exception to state budget tuition caps that allows a tuition increase of up to 12.9 percent, so long as 3.9 percent of the increase is earmarked for financial aid and student-related technology.

For the 54 percent of undergraduate students from Ohio who receive some form of university financial aid, the effective tuition increase is much less than 12.9 percent, and in some cases even zero, Shkurti said. That is because a significant portion of the revenue growth is allocated to student financial aid to ensure that students who are otherwise qualified will not be denied admission to the university for financial reasons.

Barbara Snyder, executive vice president and provost, said that increased revenue generated from the tuition increase will allow the university to focus resources on areas that support the Academic Plan and President Karen Holbrook’s Leadership Agenda.

“Ohio State will direct its resources this year toward increasing interdisciplinary research, creating distinctive educational experiences for our students, and continuing outreach and engagement efforts that benefit the people of Ohio,” Snyder said. “To foster more interdisciplinary research, some departments will hire faculty members whose focus will be on externally funded research, the university will provide funding to multidisciplinary teams putting together large grant proposals to external funding agencies, and we will reduce institutional barriers to cross-disciplinary research and teaching.”

The university also will create distinctive educational experiences by introducing new undergraduate research experiences in every discipline, recruiting an entering class with a median ACT score of 26 by 2006, increasing diversity by expanding recruitment and financial aid and improving the campus climate, investing in technology to support teaching and learning, and making student housing an institutional priority to enhance academic achievement, she said.

Shkurti said that the largest component of the university’s budget is the health system — including University Hospital, James Cancer Hospital and Solove Research Institute, University Hospital East, Ross Heart Hospital, Harding Hospital and the Hospital Physicians Network — which accounts for 34.5 percent of projected resources and makes up 51.5 percent of the university’s revenue growth for the year.

At the regional campuses, Marion and Newark have experienced steady enrollment growth, while Lima and Mansfield have experienced slight enrollment declines and are aligning their annual budgets accordingly. An enrollment management study is under way for all four regional campuses and is scheduled for completion in December. At the Agricultural Technical Institute in Wooster, enrollment has been declining since 2000, and a financial stabilization plan is being developed.


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