UCCS leaders share good budget news

Pam Shockley-Zalabak

Pam Shockley-Zalabak

Chancellor Pam Shockley-Zalabak and Brian Burnett, senior executive vice chancellor, Administration and Finance, shared what both called the “best UCCS budget news in a decade” at a May 7 all-campus forum.

Before a crowd of 80 faculty and staff members, Burnett highlighted actions by the Colorado General Assembly and effects of increased enrollment tuition revenues. He connected the actions to salary increases, new positions, new buildings, employer-paid benefits and increased operating budgets.

While Burnett shared details, Shockley-Zalabak pointed out that the $20 million in state funds UCCS anticipates receiving in FY 2015 is $4 million less than the campus received in 2001. In the past 14 years, UCCS added about 5,000 more students and expanded the campus to accommodate them.

“We are stable,” Shockley-Zalabak said. “Exciting things are happening. But the funding model is changing. We cannot depend on increased state funding.”

Brian Burnett

Brian Burnett

Burnett explained the effect of Senate Bill 1, which increased state funding as well as CU Board of Regent actions to approve Colorado resident tuition increases ranging from 3.2 to 3.5 percent, a slight increase in student fees, as well as planned 5 percent growth in campus enrollment.

That forward momentum will be visible in many ways including

  • A 3 percent merit salary increase pool for faculty and exempt staff.
  • A 3.5 percent salary increase pool for classified staff members.
  • Increased employer contributions for benefits such as health, dental and life insurance that will keep employee out-of-pocket expenses level.
  • Funding increases for student hourly, operating, travel and capital improvement budgets as well as increased student financial aid.

Next year, UCCS will increase spending on student financial aid by 9 percent in an effort to continue to recruit and retain low- and moderate-income students. Since 2003, campus financial aid allocations have more than tripled.

The relative fiscal health of the university will also allow specific increases in key areas of the university including:

  •  10 new tenure-track faculty positions in addition to filling positions vacated through retirement or resignation.
  • Investments in the chancellor’s office ($75,000), University Advancement ($370,000), Information Technology ($200,000), Administration and Finance ($726,000) and Student Success ($642,000).

Planning and design of a $56 million Visual and Performing Arts Center on North Nevada Avenue will continue next year, thanks to a $13.3 million allocation from the Colorado General Assembly. Construction will begin in 2015 and be completed in early 2018.

Other construction updates were:

  • Academic Office Building. Move-in is expected in July.
  • Parking Garage/Recreation Field. Completion is expected in August.
  • Recreation Center expansion and student health and wellness addition. Groundbreaking is expected in September and an opening is planned sometime in fall 2015.
  • Village at Alpine Valley housing expansion. Construction is underway with phase 1 with space for 292 more students to live on campus opening in fall 2015.
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