“It is important for you, our faculty and staff, to be apprised of the challenges that are before us so that we might face our obstacles together.”
Print Speech 2 of 6
If I were a betting man, I would say that the odds are pretty good that the vast majority of my presidential colleagues across the country have resorted to taking a “good news, bad news approach” to presenting their state of the University messages these days. And, while most of us would prefer to focus on the good news and the many positive things that make us unique as institutions, we all know that it is important for you, our faculty and staff, to also be apprised of the challenges that are before us so that we might face our obstacles together, with far less negative impact on our students and our academic programs.
Without question, the significant reductions in our budget over the past few years have been a hindrance to our plans for continued growth and productivity. From 2008-09 through 2010-11, real cuts to Stony Brook University tally up to nearly $59 million. Put another way, since April 1, 2008, our State budget allocation has been reduced by nearly 20%.
To help put our budget situation into perspective, especially for the sake of those who are newcomers to our institution, I would like to share with you a few vital budgetary statistics, which has become customary at this gathering.
Of our total all-funds budget of $2 billion, $303 million comes in the form of state allocation, of which $134.5 million (44%) comes from tuition and miscellaneous revenue and $168.5 million (56%) in the form of State tax support (this is what has been cut) (Chart 1), (Chart 2). Of the 2010-11 State Purpose Funding, 81% is used for personnel (salary and wages), 13% for utilities, leaving only 6% for everything else (Chart 3). This points out the challenge we face in dealing with our budget cuts—we have very few areas other than personnel where we can make significant reductions.
State Support per Student FTE
The recent cuts that we have endured are part of a longer, more disturbing trend in State funding of higher education. As a State institution, one of the most discouraging statistics we see as we look at dwindling fiscal resources is the continued downward spiral of State support per Student FTE. In 2005-06, State support per Student FTE registered at over $8,000. In 2010-11, if we remove all inflationary factors like contractual salary increases and utilities, that support is down to less than $4,000 per student FTE, a decrease of around 55%.
So if the State support per Student FTE is falling, where do you derive additional revenue to help maintain a quality education for each of your students? Well, obviously, many other states have looked to tuition increases to make up this difference. However, as we look at the most recent statistics for tuition and fees among other public AAU institutions (2009-10), Stony Brook ranks fourth for the lowest tuition and fees for in-state undergraduate students (Chart 4). We are first on the list when it comes to the lowest out-of-state tuition for undergrads (Chart 5). Given the cost of living in New York and Long Island in particular, it becomes clear that we are not receiving tuition revenue that is commensurate with that of our peers, or our neighboring institutions.