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May 16, 2012

Dr. Nick J. BrunoA message to ULM faculty and staff from ULM President Nick J. Bruno

Dear Colleagues,

Below is a press release from ULM's Office of Public Information.


University of Louisiana at Monroe Faces $12.3 Million Cut

If the budget bill (HB1) currently moving through the Louisiana Legislature is not amended, the University of Louisiana at Monroe is slated to lose $12.3 million in state appropriations. This will bring ULM's total state funding reductions since Fiscal Year 2008/09 to $30.4 million, or 53 percent. As the current budget proposal stands, total reductions in state general fund support for all of higher education since FY 2008/09 would reach $585 million.

ULM President Nick J. Bruno said, "These cuts continue to negatively impact higher education as well as the region we serve. While services to our students will be impacted, the loss of economic value to our region is very significant."

More than 70 percent of the State of Louisiana's operating budget is protected through constitutional or statutory dedications, federal mandates, and unavoidable obligations. Higher education does not enjoy any constitutional protection from cuts. Consequently, when the state faces significant shortfalls, higher education, along with healthcare, takes the brunt of the reductions.

"Higher education has been notified that of the $268 million shortfall in the budget for next year, $134 million will be taken from our allocations," said University of Louisiana System President Randy Moffett.

Over the past four years, reductions to higher education have been mitigated in part by one-time funding and raising tuition and fees. Even with modest increases in tuition over the last few years, it has not been enough to close the gap in funding. Since FY 2008/09, ULM's net total funding reduction would be $19.7 million (22 percent) given the current budget scenario.

Since 2008, ULM has taken several steps to address declining resources, such as reducing top administration, providing incentives for early retirement, furloughing employees, cutting programs, and eliminating almost 200 funded positions. This loss in workforce means staff members are assuming additional responsibilities, and similarly, faculty are voluntarily teaching extra classes without compensation.

The additional loss of $12.3 million may result in impacts to ULM services for the community.

Bruno said, "During the same period, the university has absorbed more than $6.7 million in additional expenses related to mandated costs. While these continued reductions are having an immediate and negative impact on our university and our region, the most significant damage is to our region's future intellectual capital."

Sincerely,

Nick J. Bruno, Ph.D.
President