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Trustees discuss budget shortfall

12/07/2001

Thanks to careful management, Miami University will survive this year’s cuts in state subsidy without major harm to student services or a midyear tuition hike, Miami President James Garland told trustees Dec. 7.

However, additional subsidy cuts this fiscal year are possible and the university is also facing “almost certain reductions” in state funding next year, warned Garland.

Although the 6 percent cut or $7.5 million loss in state subsidy so far this year is significant, it represents only about 3 percent of the academic portion of Miami’s budget.

“That percentage is so low because of the history of low state support of higher education in Ohio,” he said. As a result, students and their families have had to pay more and more of college costs.

Richard Norman, vice president for finance and business services and treasurer, explained that while Miami is dealing with this year’s reductions partially through the use of one-time savings, it “is very clear that these cuts are permanent” and will affect the base budget going into the next biennium.

Roger Howe, chair of Miami’s board of trustees, suggested one strategy for dealing with the long-term impact of state funding policies.

“If Ohio cannot or will not provide reasonable subsidy to higher education then - at the least - the state must eliminate unreasonable and wasteful mandates that squander students’ tuition,” he said.

Miami could save up to $3 million a year if mandates regarding prevailing wage and prime contractors were repealed, said Howe, noting that Miami must pay local painting contractors $33.50 an hour rather than the going rate of $17.60 an hour.

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