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Article Posted September 17, 2012

Featured - Regents’ FY14 Budget Request Will Support Students, State Medical Needs

Regents’ FY14 Budget Request Will Support Students, State Medical Needs

As the University System ramps up efforts to raise college completion rates, some of a requested $65.6 million enrollment-driven increase in state funding for public colleges and universities in Fiscal Year 2014 will support campus plans toward this end.

“The FY14 budget request mirrors our FY13 request,” said USG Vice Chancellor for Fiscal Affairs John Brown. “We continue to make students our top priority in our budgeting as well as meeting critical needs for physicians in the state. This year we are working to support Gov. Nathan Deal’s Complete College Georgia initiative, so we will continue to work with our institutions to set budget priorities that support this effort, which ultimately will strengthen Georgia’s economic competitiveness.”

The dollars are part of a total $1.93 billion FY14 budget request approved today by the USG’s governing Board of Regents, along with a separate $279.6 million request for needed facilities.

Along with the request for new dollars, the regents also approved a three percent budget reduction plan, as instructed by the Governor’s Office of Planning and Budget.

“We are committed to a path of change in how we operate that helps us focus more of our resources on our goal of creating a more highly educated Georgia,” said USG Chancellor Hank Huckaby. “Our budget request truly reflects our focus on serving students and helping more Georgians complete college in a timely and cost-effective manner.”

Enrollment gains in the fall of 2011 (the year upon which the new budget request is based) generated a $65.6 million increase in the System’s funding formula. This formula is the mathematical model used to calculate the cost of instruction and needed state funding at the state’s 35 public colleges and universities.

In addition to enrollment gains, other factors in the formula made up the balance of the $98.9 million request, including increases in health insurance, retiree benefits and maintenance and operations funding for existing facilities.

In the current budget, some of the new funding generated by enrollment growth was funneled specifically to programs that support the work of colleges and universities to increase retention and graduation rates, such as hiring needed faculty and student support staff, and establishing or strengthening programs that provide academic resources and help for students as they navigate the freshman year.

“As our campuses begin to implement plans to increase college completion levels through the Complete College Georgia initiative, we will continue to analyze how new dollars can be targeted to these efforts,” said Executive Vice Chancellor Dr. Houston Davis, the USG’s chief academic officer. “A portion of the $65.6 million in new formula dollars will ultimately support this key initiative.”

The regents’ FY14 request also builds upon the board’s ongoing and longstanding efforts to increase the numbers of physicians trained and available in Georgia with a proposal for $2,075,000 in new dollars to support graduate medical education. The new funding would help create critical new residency slots at hospitals around the state.

As a part of budget instructions, all state agencies were required to develop three percent reduction plans for the current fiscal year 2013 and to carry these reductions forward into FY14. For the USG, this is a $54.4 million budget reduction.

Brown said the budget reduction guidelines to the campuses included a directive to protect core academic functions and services directly impacting students as much as possible.

“Reductions should first come from central and nonacademic functions and reflect the academic priorities of the institution,” said Brown. All low priority activities will be considered for reduction or elimination. “An institution’s highest priorities should be protected,” Brown said.

The regents also approved a FY14 capital budget request of $279.6 million, which includes $24.9 million in equipment for seven facilities under construction or renovation, $151.6 million in new construction for five projects, $33.3 million in construction and renovation for 11 projects (each under $5 million) and $50 million for major repair and renovation funds at all 35 campuses. The request also includes $19.8 million in construction for 12 Georgia Public Library System projects.

The Board’s actions on the FY14 operating and capital budget requests now go to OPB for the Governor’s review before he makes his final recommendations to the General Assembly in January 2013.

The complete FY14 capital budget request can be viewed at: http://www.usg.edu/facilities/capital_budget_requests.

Posted by Sonja Roberts
Published in: Board of Regents

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