This note is an update on the Higher Education Modernization Act:
Dear University Community:
We are writing to inform you of the results of the University’s advocacy efforts regarding the Commonwealth’s 2012-13 annual budget appropriation support and important legislative bills affecting the State System universities. Your assistance has proven to be helpful, and we thank you for your advocacy on behalf of the University.
Through a sustained collaborative effort by staff, faculty, alumni and business and community leaders, the initial state budget direction of a 20% reduction (a $6 million loss to MU) was amended, passed and signed into law with no further cuts. That means that the University has the same funding available as last year. With a 3% tuition increase ($94/semester) the University is still dealing with a deficit of $ 1. 5 million. It is important to note that flat funding does not cover increases in utilities, healthcare, contracts and other issues. Although this deficit continues to present challenges, the challenges are not as severe as they would have been in dealing with a 20% cut in addition to the 18% reduction in state appropriations the University had to deal with last year.
Additionally, the legislature passed and the Governor signed bills that:
- increase the threshold for purchases that must be competitively bid, with annual inflationary adjustments, from $10,000 to $18,500;
- allow the University to enter into consortia agreements for purchasing, a definite improvement that will provide access to the volume purchasing power of consortia;
- allow the University to be able to seek PASSHE approval to offer applied doctoral degrees with emphases on collaboration;
- no longer prohibits University employees, including the president, vice presidents and others in appropriate roles, to raise private funds directed to University-related foundations; and,
- permits faculty whose research has led to discoveries that might have potential commercial value to enter into agreements with universities for the commercialization of discoveries and applications of their research.
There was no legislative progress regarding regional prevailing wage, the “four prime” construction system, and greater flexibility with the Department of General Services on construction projects. Work remains to be done regarding these concerns.
We are pleased to report that feedback from state government officials indicates the collective and individual contacts by many of you played an important part in changes to the budget and support to legislative bills. As we look to next year, plans are to strengthen and increase communication and information links to government officials.
Once again, thank you!
Francine G. McNairy, President
Michael G. Warfel, Chairman, Council of Trustees
This note will serve as an update on Millersville University’s budget now that the Commonwealth’s 2012-13 budget has been passed by the legislature and signed into law by the Governor.
The University will receive the same amount of state appropriation support as last year or level funding. Although it is better than the initial proposal of a 20 percent reduction, it still represents the 18 percent cut the University had to deal with last year. In addition to flat funding the University faces increased expenses in utilities and health care, unknown salaries for some union contracts, and tuition has yet to be set for the University. While the University does not anticipate any layoffs at this time due to the budget situation, vacancies will remain open for some positions and other budget considerations still have to be made.
It is important to note that the University already eliminated $15.5 million from the budget over the last five years as a consequence of decreasing state allocations and the elimination of the funding from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act. Reductions in operating funds have required Millersville University to eliminate or freeze more than 100 faculty and staff positions. The cutbacks have also led to increased class sizes, reduction in programs and further concern for eroding the quality of the educational experience for students.
The University wishes to thanks both those external and internal to the University who contacted government officials to advocate for increased state support to the PA State System of Higher Education.