Letters to campus
Dear Faculty and Staff,
Greetings from Anderson Hall! I had the best of intentions in August to put out two campus letters and just didn’t get the second one done before the beginning of September. As promised last month, I want to provide an update on the budget situation for the upcoming fiscal year.
Normally we are able to provide this information in the middle of the summer, at which time we know what our state budget will look like and what the Kansas Board of Regents will have approved in terms of possible tuition and fees increases. However, because of the extended nature of the legislative session, we did not finish up all of our budgetary discussions until late June.
State Budget Allocation
The Kansas Legislature met for a record-breaking 114-day session – the longest in Kansas history. At the conclusion of the session, we came through with a flat budget; indeed, public higher education was the only state agency to not have our annual allocation cut during the session. Additionally, the Legislature approved $60 million bonding authority and appropriated $3.7 million from Educational Building Funds to finance renovation and expansion of the Seaton Complex for the College of Architecture, Planning and Design.
Approved Tuition and Fees
The Kansas Legislature imposed a tuition and fees cap of 3.6 percent during the 2015 legislative session for our current fiscal year 2016 and the next 2017. This increase can provide $6.8 million in new income for Kansas State University depending on the student enrollment. Additionally, tuition surcharge increases were approved to hire new faculty members in the Colleges of Engineering ($15 per credit hour) and Business Administration ($15 per credit hour) that generated $1.4 million in new income for those colleges. Finally, fringe benefit rates decreased resulting in savings of $375,000, and we reallocated $500,000 of Global Food Systems initiative funds to bring our total available revenue to $9.1 million.
In addition to the college tuition surcharge increases mentioned above, the Regents approved a $20 per credit hour fee for the College of Human Ecology.
Projected Fiscal Year Revenues and Expenses
The University Budget Advisory Committee provided a set of recommendations on how general use university funds should be allocated, which are categorized by K-State 2025 themes:
Theme 2: Undergraduate Educational Experience (Total: $1,339,074)
Institutional scholarships — $1,168,000
Student-centered tuition enhancements — $171,074
Theme 3: Graduate Scholarly Experience (Total: $385,629)
Instructional fees/GTA tuition increase — $385,629
Theme 5: Faculty and Staff (Total: $5,763,407)
Targeted faculty salary enhancements — $575,764
Faculty promotions/Professorial Performance Awards — $1,392,126
Base funding support unclassified professionals — $637,964
Base funding support for faculty positions — $1,215,393
College of Business and Engineering faculty positions — $1,442,160
Human Capital Services, reorganization and development of Talent Acquisition and automated hiring process — $500,000
Theme 6: Facilities and Infrastructure (Total: $1,627,195)
Utilities: Increased square footage, rate increases, debt service — $1,535,000
Laboratory and classroom upgrades — $92,195
This past year, we once again invested the majority of our new funds in support of faculty and staff. The base funding support for faculty positions added a total of 11 new faculty positions across the Manhattan campus, Salina campus, and Veterinary Medicine. Additionally, the tuition surcharge increases in the Colleges of Business and Engineering will add an additional 12 new faculty positions to both those colleges.
We made additional progress on faculty salaries, with continued investments in targeted faculty salary enhancements, increased faculty promotion allocations, and professorial performance awards.
We also continue to deal with increased utilities costs as we invest to increase the chill plant capacity, increase the amount of square feet of usable space on the Manhattan campus and absorb utility rate increases. The utility budget will continue to increase in the coming fiscal years as additional new facilities are brought online.
I am very committed to working across our university in a spirit of shared governance on how we spend our limited new funds. We will always have many more needs than we have resources, and we must continue to work collectively on using our funds strategically. I am very proud that we were able to add some much needed faculty lines this past year, but am disappointed we weren’t able to do another 2 percent merit pool for all of our faculty and staff. We will continue to make improving our salaries a university priority moving forward.
Your entire K-State leadership team will continue to work to find creative ways to do the things we need to in order to meet our goal of being recognized as a Top 50 public research university. I appreciate your dedication to excellence and striving to get better each day! Please reach out to me at any time with questions or concerns.