State Budget UpdateJuly 10, 2012
Dear Carolina Faculty and Staff:
The North Carolina General Assembly last week took final action on a new state budget for fiscal 2012-2013. UNC President Tom Ross has characterized the budget as fair and sensitive to the highest priority needs of the UNC campuses. I agree with that assessment and share his gratitude for the consideration our legislators have given to public higher education in North Carolina under difficult circumstances.
This budget provides stability with no significant new cuts in our state appropriations and recognizes your hard work and contributions through a modest, but well-intentioned – and deserved – salary increase.
For the raises, the first in four years, the budget provides for a 1.2 percent increase for all staff employees covered under the State Personnel Act (SPA). For staff and faculty exempt from the personnel act (EPA), we will receive funding equivalent to a 1.2 percent increase. We will have flexibility to administer these EPA increases at the campus level, pending guidance from General Administration after the Board of Governors meet next month. In addition, all employees will be eligible to receive an additional five days of vacation leave for use in 2013.
Considering the current economic picture for the state, the fact that a raise made the final budget is a positive indication that our legislators value the contributions you make to the University and to North Carolina. Thank you for being patient during these challenging times since the downturn began. My colleagues and I in the administration are grateful for all that you do for Carolina and will continue advocating on your behalf when it comes to future pay increases and enhanced benefits.
The budget also includes funding for enrollment growth on other UNC campuses. As we had hoped, the campuses also will keep the revenue associated with the tuition increases previously approved by the UNC Board of Governors. Those funds will be particularly helpful to us in addressing UNC-Chapel Hill priorities approved by our Board of Trustees and the Board of Governors including need-based financial aid, retaining faculty who have received offers from other institutions, restoring courses eliminated through previous budget reductions, and graduate student aid.
We also expect to gain about $2.8 million for Carolina from among the $13 million allocated for repairs and renovations on UNC campuses. The Legislature will offset earlier reductions in need-based financial aid on UNC campuses with an additional $24 million funded primarily by excess state lottery receipts. The campuses also expect to absorb marginal cuts to meet a reduction created by the restoration of management flexibility provisions enacted last year by legislators.
We still have a lot of details to work through with General Administration to know the full impact of the new budget for UNC-Chapel Hill. Keep in mind that our state appropriations currently account for less than 20 percent of the University’s total revenues. The state’s investment is generally allocated to support instruction and key academic operations. Other key revenue sources, including faculty research grants and contracts and private gifts from our loyal alumni and friends, remain solid. Compared with other major public research universities around the country, we continue to be well positioned in part because of the generous state support we have received over the years.
We have done our part to help the state cope with the downturn. In all, we’ve taken more than $231 million in total state cuts since 2008. We have also identified and implemented $50 million in permanent administrative savings based on a study of campus operations by Bain & Company. Carolina Counts, the resulting campus initiative, has helped us streamline operations and eliminate unnecessary bureaucracy, thereby reallocating resources to support the academic mission.
I look forward to continuing our work with President Ross, his staff and the General Assembly to preserve the quality of a Carolina education for thousands of current and future students. Maintaining the strength of public higher education in North Carolina is absolutely vital to the economic future of our state.
For updates on the University budget, refer to universityrelations.unc.edu/budget.
Thanks again for all you do to serve our students and the University.