Officials want funding increase

by Brian Bakst

University officials plan to ask the Legislature to pay half of the University’s operating costs under a proposal presented to the Board of Regents on Friday.
Although the 1998-99 biennial budget request is not finalized, the draft is based on a Legislature commitment of $244 million. But over the past five years state support has declined almost 10 percent.
The draft of the budget request also relies on a $43 million revenue growth at the University. In addition, the University intends to reallocate funds and create new revenue sources of $79 million.
One source of revenue increases would be from increased student enrollments, said Bob Kvavik of the office of Management and International Education. Kvavik said for every 1,000 students admitted, $3 million could be raised in revenue. Kvavik added that reducing the faculty by 5 percent would yield $15 million in savings.
But as administrators try to raise revenues, they also say the amount of money the University receives in tuition should be limited to inflation rates.
It doesn’t mean, however, that the rate students pay for tuition increases would also be limited to inflation. Tuition rate increases would depend on a student’s college and status, said Marvin Marshak, senior vice president for Academic Affairs
The purpose of the biennial budget request is to set forth the University’s priorities for the next two fiscal years.
In Gov. Arne Carlson’s budget proposal, the University would receive more than $463 million annually.
University administrators would like to receive an additional $122 million each year from the state. This would bring the total allocation for 1998-99 to more than $586 million per year.
Two years ago, the University requested $87 million more than Carlson suggested. They only received $60 million more. More than $36 million of that money was labeled nonrenewable. Since 1990, state support has decreased from near 50 percent to 39 percent.
In addition, no money would be allotted under the University’s budget request for building renewal. It was estimated in 1993 that $1 billion was needed to restore University buildings. In Friday’s budget request presentation, it is estimated the University will need $90 million per year from the state for building renewal.
But administrators say the University will ask for this money in a separate request. Regent William Hogan II said he was uncomfortable with building renewal money being put on such an emergency-fund request.
One way to alter renewal costs is to stop using some buildings, said Richard Pfutzenreuter, associate vice president for Budget and Finance. Then these buildings’ operation and reparation costs could be eliminated and used toward other building maintenance, he said.