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Since last month’s Update, the university’s financial outlook has not improved. On July 1, we began the new 2009-10 fiscal year with a $38.3 million cut to our recurring state budget.

Since July 2007, state-mandated cuts have removed $77.2 million from our budget, including the $38.3 million cut. That represents a 27 percent cut in our recurring state support.

To put it another way: UCF has endured a budget cut of more than $100,000 every day for the past two years.

Financial Priorities
Two statistics are very telling when it comes to where and how UCF devotes its resources during this historic budget crisis.

First, the university emphasizes administrative efficiency, and we are tops in that regard. State figures show UCF spends about 30 percent less than the state university average on administrative expenses known as “indirect costs.”

Indirect costs measure money spent on areas not directly related to student learning. The lower the total, the more efficient you are. UCF has the lowest indirect costs in the state at $109.70 per student credit hour; the state average is $152.24 per student credit hour.

Second, rewarding talented faculty members with top pay is also a university priority. I am pleased that The Chronicle of Higher Education survey of university salaries shows that UCF is a state leader in faculty pay. UCF full professors receive the highest average salary in the state system, associate professors are second and assistant professors are third.

As we move forward, administrative and academic efficiency as well as appropriate compensation for our talented faculty and staff members will continue to be priorities.

Revised Program Proposal
Despite projected revenue growth, we face an approximately $17 million budget shortfall at the beginning of the 2011-12 fiscal year when our federal stimulus money disappears. We are proposing four program deletions and one suspension to help reduce that deficit, which must be addressed in its entirety before July 1, 2011.

In addition, an equivalent cut will be made to all administrative budgets.

This proposal for program deletions and a suspension was presented to the Board of Trustees’ Educational Programs Committee at a public meeting on July 13. The committee voted to recommend the proposal to the full board, which meets Thursday, July 23 for a final vote.

Please visit the Budget Resource Center Web site for more details about the proposal and how it will help UCF manage the budget crisis.

Finally, it is only the severity of the economic crisis that is forcing us to consider these actions. Eliminating programs is a difficult and painful option for the university, and we are sensitive to how program deletions would affect the lives of students and faculty and staff members.

Unfortunately, the economics of our situation dictated a fundamental change in how we managed the budget crisis in order to best serve the majority of our students and our university.