Big Ten budgets not so big

A look at how other Big 10 schools are handling their budgets in tough economic times

Taryn Wobbema

From administrators to custodians, men and women employed by the universities in the Big Ten are dealing with heavy budget cuts and salary freezes. While no two schools have reacted the same way, each has developed a plan to withstand the economic trouble without totally devastating its students and employees. But some face bigger obstacles than others. University of Minnesota The University of Minnesota used federal stimulus dollars to soften what would have been a 7.5 percent tuition increase each of the next two years; increases were kept at 3 percent this year and 4.5 percent for 2010-11, President Bob Bruininks said in September. Last November, Bruininks announced a salary freeze for executive officials and himself. The rest of the UniversityâÄôs faculty and staff were added to the freeze over the summer. Bruininks makes a $455,000 base salary. The number of job cuts reached more than 1,200 as a result of unfilled faculty and non-student staff positions and 370 layoffs. Ohio State University For the third year in a row, Ohio State University was able to freeze tuition for in-state undergraduate students. Non-residents will face a 2.5 percent tuition increase this year. University spokesman Jim Lynch said the school has received a lot of support from the state Legislature and the governor. Ohio State will receive nearly $2 billion in funding from the state for the next two years. This includes approximately $619 million in federal stimulus funding dispersed each year. This translates to a 7.6 percent funding increase from 2009 to 2010. Such increases have allowed Ohio State to maintain its tuition freeze as well as give an average 2.5 percent pay increase to faculty and staff, Lynch said. Senior administrators voluntarily froze their pay this year and donated their bonuses to student financial aid, including President Gordon Gee, who makes more than $800,000 in base salary. Pennsylvania State University After a $21 million budget cut was proposed by Pennsylvania Gov. Edward Rendell , Pennsylvania State University President Graham Spanier announced a salary freeze for all employees, including his own $590,000 salary, according to a February news release. The cut would put state funding for the school at about $318 million for the 2009-10 academic year . However, the state budget has not been adopted yet, university spokesman Bill Mahon said in an e-mail. âÄúWe have now operated three months of the year with no state funding at all,âÄù he wrote. University of Michigan The University of Michigan is set to receive a $36.5 million cut in state funding over the next three years, according to a June 2009 news release. While the state Legislature will not determine funding for the university until October, the university requested $316.6 million âÄî $10 million less than 2009, the release stated. Tuition rates for both resident and non-resident undergraduates will increase by 5.6 percent this year. Administrators expect to save about $15.2 million a number of ways, including eliminating unfilled positions, the release stated. To save additional dollars, President Mary Sue Coleman ($533,000 salary) and other top administrators, including 19 deans, voluntarily froze their salary. A âÄúmodestâÄù pay increase was given to faculty and staff to keep its compensation competitive. Michigan State University Dealing with a $50 million funding cut over the next two years will force Michigan State University to cut 590 employee positions, according to a document put out by the MSU Office of Planning and Budgets. Faculty and staff who remain will receive a 2 percent increase in accordance with labor contracts still in effect. President Lou Anna Simon ($520,000 salary) refused a pay increase this year. MSU vice presidents and deans who received increases agreed to donate them to financial aid. The report indicated a goal of increasing financial aid by 30 percent over the next two years. In the same period, tuition for resident undergraduates will increase by 10.1 percent, 5.2 percent this year. University of Illinois A salary freeze for administrators, faculty and other academic professionals began this past July at the University of Illinois, university spokesman Tom Hardy said. The freeze did not apply to employees under current labor contracts. Though cuts have not been considered, Hardy said the freeze is bad enough. âÄúNo organization wants to be in a position where it cannot provide merit-based salary increases for its employees. ItâÄôs a disincentive,âÄù he said. The university president makes $450,000. Current President B. Joseph White announced his resignation earlier this month due to an admissions controversy at the school. Based on the governorâÄôs proposal for the 2010 budget, the University of Illinois would receive a 1.1 percent increase in state appropriations. Indiana University Indiana University has enacted a salary freeze for the next two years, affecting all employees making more than $30,000. Full-time employees making less than that will receive a one-time $500 bonus. This is in addition to a 50 percent cut to salary funds available for non-faculty departments with open job positions. To adjust to an admissions influx, however, 129 faculty members will be hired system-wide. When President Michael McRobbie addressed the Indiana University Board of Trustees in July, he said the university lost 4.5 percent of its funding from the state for the 2010 fiscal year. McRobbie makes $425,000 a year. In-state undergraduate tuition increased by 4.6 percent on the Indianapolis and Bloomington campuses this year. University of Wisconsin-Madison âÄúWeâÄôd take a freeze over what we have right now,âÄù University of Wisconsin spokesman David Giroux said. The Wisconsin state Legislature has ordered furlough days âÄî unpaid vacation days âÄî be taken by every university employee over the next two years, Giroux said. Twelve-month appointees must take eight furlough days, nine-month staff must take six and part-time workers will have reduced hours. The total hours lost due to furloughs equals about a 3 percent pay cut for all employees, including the president and chancellors, Giroux said. University President Kevin Reilly makes more than $401,000 after furloughs and the pay cut. While not formally enacting a hiring freeze, all new hires are personally approved by each schoolâÄôs chancellor to evaluate the need for new employees. Purdue University President France Cordova ($425,000) established a salary freeze for all Purdue University employees for the 2009-10 academic year, according to an April news release. An April 2009 Board of Trustees newsletter indicated the decision was made after a 2 percent cut to the general budget was made earlier in the year. Purdue officials were not available for further comment. Undergraduate tuition was expected to increase for the 2009-10 academic year by 5 percent for in-state students and 6 percent for non-residents. University of Iowa A freeze was announced for all University of Iowa administrators, faculty and staff not under a current labor contract, according to a March university department newsletter. For 2010, the university will endure a 12.5 percent budget cut from the state, according to a statement from President Sally Mason in April. Mason makes $450,000. University officials had no further comment. Northwestern University Northwestern University is not required to release salary information because it is a private school. University officials did not return requests for comment.