The Blade/Dave Zapotosky
The University of Toledo is projecting a $13 million budget shortfall for its current fiscal year, which could force budget cuts if the university’s financial picture does not improve during the spring semester.
University officials’ budget forecast at the start of fiscal year 2013 showed a balanced budget of about $530 million for nonclinical operations; the shortfall has developed during the fall semester.
Most of the projected shortfall is because of lower-than-anticipated student enrollment for the fall semester, UT President Lloyd Jacobs said.
The rest is from unexpected cost increases; Dr. Jacobs cited as an example higher facility-cooling costs because of unusually hot summer weather.
Dr. Jacobs downplayed the projected shortfall, which could shrink or be eliminated during the course of the fiscal year. He said it wasn’t unusual for budget-shortfall projections to appear at points during the year.
“This is not very much out of the ordinary for this time of the year,” he said.
David Dabney, the university’s chief financial officer and vice president for finance, said in a presentation last week to the UT board of directors that the shortfall may dwindle if the university retains students into spring semester at better rates than in the past. Increased academic standards brought in a freshman class with better credentials than in prior years, university officials say, and students better prepared for college are more likely to stay past their first semester than those with low scores.
A new UT initiative this year to offer free on-campus housing to students who transfer to the university in the spring could improve enrollment and bring extra funds through tuition.
University officials should have information by the end of December on how many current students will return and new transfers will arrive. They will then begin to review all areas if the budget shortfall remains.
Dr. Jacobs said he expects no immediate layoffs. A larger concern, Dr. Jacobs said, is the budget for next fiscal year.
The university has delayed some significant decisions about its budget for several years now, in part by transferring capital funds into the operating budget. Those delayed decisions may have to be addressed next year.
"[Fiscal Year] 2014 will be a difficult year," Dr. Jacobs said.
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