On July 23, the UCF Board of Trustees approved a proposal that will save the university about $8 million through cuts to academic and administrative budgets. The action was in response to $77.2 million in state budget cuts UCF has endured since July 2007.
The severity of the economic crisis led to this decision, for this is not a path anyone would choose for our university. I know I speak for the entire UCF community by saying our best wishes are with the students and faculty and staff members affected.
We are working with affected students to help them complete their degrees. Affected faculty and staff members will remain with UCF until at least the end of spring 2010, and some may be asked to stay longer to help students complete their work.
Additionally, area community colleges have expressed an interest in offering the programs that UCF will phase out. We will work closely with the community colleges to help ensure a smooth transition for students.
The federal stimulus money we are receiving disappears at the start of the 2011-12 fiscal year. The Board-approved academic and administrative cuts will result in about $8 million in savings, meaning our budget deficit on July 1, 2011, is projected to be about $9 million.
This scenario assumes no further state budget cuts. Should additional cuts occur, which some believe is likely, the 2011 deficit quickly worsens.
The Center on Budget and Policy Priorities recently released a report on the “unprecedented” budget problems states face in the future. I encourage you toread it here.
In light of the projected 2011 deficit, the Board asked UCF to examine ways we can reduce that deficit and prepare for possible further state cuts. I will communicate regularly about our progress, and I pledge a continued open discussion about our budget issues.
Despite these cuts, we have continued to attract the best and brightest students, conduct groundbreaking research, and provide positive economic and social benefits to our community.
For example, Nursing professor Mary Lou Sole recently was one of only three national recipients of the Flame of Excellence Award from the American Association of Critical-Care Nurses. The award honors high-level achievers whose contributions have advanced the field of acute and critical care nursing.
And Gov. Charlie Crist visited our Center for Emerging Media in July to see the state-of-the-art facilities and several student-made video games.
Though these are difficult economic times, UCF continues to shine. That is due to your efforts, and I thank you for your continued dedication to our students and our university.