Board rescinds financial emergency at Southeast
The Southeast Missouri State University Board of Regents today cut incidental fees for spring 2005 by $2 per credit hour after lifting a financial emergency declared by the Board in June 2002.
The reduction of incidental fees by $2 a credit hour for spring 2005 comes after the Board, in February, approved an incidental fee structure for fiscal 2005 with the understanding that fees would be reduced appropriately if the University’s fiscal 2005 appropriation exceeded its fiscal 2004 appropriation. The Regents voted today to cut fees by $2 a credit for spring 2005 since state appropriations to Southeast are budgeted at $1.02 million above the University’s fiscal 2004 appropriation.
After the governor’s three percent withholding, Southeast will receive a net appropriation increase of $995,244 for fiscal 2005. Southeast officials says those funds will be used in a number of areas, including to cover the $2 per credit hour incidental fee roll-back, a $400 medical reimbursement account for each employee, the funding of an employee assistance plan, and a one percent increase in equipment and operations budgets.
University officials say the reduction in incidental fees will help to maintain access to affordable quality higher education for the Southeast service region. Based on the approved plan, incidental fees for the spring 2005 semester will be $149.80 per credit hour for resident undergraduates; $269.30 per credit hour for non-resident undergraduates, $177.20 per credit hour for resident graduate students; and $321.10 per credit hour for non-resident graduate students.
In related action, the Board voted to rescind the financial emergency it declared in June 2002. At that time, the Regents declared that a financial emergency existed due to significant one-time and base budget reductions in state appropriations. Due to serious revenue shortfalls for the state of Missouri, the University sustained base budget cuts of $8.2 millions and one-time withholdings of $8.6 million between fiscal 2001 and fiscal 2004. These reductions in state funding created a significant base budget shortfall and depleted the University’s rainy day fund. As a result, the Board asked the University to conduct a non-academic program review to balance the fiscal 2003 budget and an academic program review to balance the fiscal 2004 budget and beyond. Those reviews resulted in reduction of $3.8 million in the base budget, including elimination of more than 42 positions.
University officials say that with the full implementation of non-academic cuts in fiscal 2003 and fiscal 2004, academic cuts in fiscal 2004, increased student fees, a two-year $6 per credit hour surcharge and personnel savings resulting after implementing the Voluntary Retirement Incentive Program, Southeast has balanced its fiscal 2005 budget and restored its rainy day fund to a comfortable level.
All indicators point to a recovery of revenue in Missouri, Southeast officials say, including the fact that additional withholdings for fiscal 2004 were released by year end and Southeast’s fiscal 2005 appropriations were increased $1.02 million above fiscal 2004 appropriations.