AMHERST, Mass. - University Chancellor David K. Scott has announced $10 million worth of budget allocations for Fiscal Year 1999, which started July 1.
According to Joyce Hatch, associate vice chancellor for finance and budget, of the $22.6 million in new monies allocated to the University system by the state for Fiscal Year 1999, the campus received $8.4 million. The increase represents a 4.3 percent hike over last year’s base allocation of $196 million, she said. In total for the coming fiscal year, the campus received $204 million in operating funds from the state, plus $1.75 million for Commonwealth College, the state’s new honors college and distance learning hub.
Once campus collective bargaining agreements are funded, this year’s increase is expected to be comparable to last year’s hike of $13 million, said Hatch. Three of the five campus unions have already ratified contracts and two others are in mediation. The contracts must be funded through separate state appropriations.
Scott said that the $8.4 million in new state funds (funds above those received a year ago from the state), plus about $2 million gleaned from early retirement savings, will be used this year to fund improvements in information technology and infrastructure, expanded scholarship programs, and six key areas of the campus’s Strategic Action plan.
Since the campus’s budget priorities were first laid out in FY96, spending has remained largely on track, according to Scott. "The most significant change is the large investment in scholarships with the introduction of the valedictorian-salutatorian program and the loss of tuition waivers."
The chancellor credited President William M. Bulger, the Board of Trustees and legislators, particularly Sen. Stan Rosenberg (D-Amherst), chairman of the Senate Ways and Means Committee, for the steady growth in state funding.
However, Scott said, "Continued momentum will be necessary in the years ahead for the campus to achieve its goal of becoming a leading land grant university with membership in the Association of American Universities." Spending priorities are listed below.
Some $1,396,000 will support the University Scholars program, which provides $8,000 a year for four years to Massachusetts high school valedictorians and salutatorians who enroll at the Amherst campus and meet specified academic standards. Spending on scholarships also includes $120,000 for the fourth year of the Commonwealth Scholars Program, which recruits other academically talented Massachusetts high school students.
The campus is also investing $2 million for facility repair and renovation. Of the $2 million, $1.9 million is targeted for new debt service related to additional borrowing this year under the campus’s capital plan.
About $2.1 million will be used to fund major initiatives of the Strategic Action plan. Those areas include faculty and staff investments; libraries and programs of excellence; research funds and graduate student support; advising and retention; diversity; and creation of community. Within the $2.1 million, $485,000 will go to a number of initiatives identified several years ago. These include funds to the computer science department, as part of a multi-year commitment to hire an additional faculty member and a technician and provide other instructional support to help maintain the department’s overall strength and national prominence; funds to the chemistry department to replace some faculty vacancies caused through retirement; financial support for a staff member in the biological sciences who will maintain and supervise the large specimen collections used for instruction and research; and funding for the second installment in a multi-year plan to replace two College of Engineering faculty who retired.
Funding will also provide new leadership for the Fine Arts Center and staff support for the Massachusetts Center for Renaissance Studies. And, $360,000 is being allocated to provide additional staffing in the Library system as new technologies are introduced and brought into service. Other monies will provide faculty positions in departments participating in the Center for Public Policy and Administration. Those expenditures will be matched by funds generated through reallocation. Additional support is also being provided to organizations involved in classroom computer technology, including a project in computer science to create instructional materials for other campus departments, including chemistry’s large introductory courses.
Using $550,000 in new funds, the campus will increase the research matching funds and add money for graduate student support. Plus, $102,000 will go to support a New Native Student Support Program and to underwrite the hiring of an academic adviser for the United Asia Learning Resource Center. Some $140,000 is designated for diversity programs, of which $20,000 will be used to match funds from the Jackie Robinson Foundation to create four scholarships. The remaining money will support the Springfield/UMass Minority Achievement (SUMMA) outreach program.
The remaining $518,000 in the major initiative category will fund programming in the Office of Jewish Affairs, child care vouchers for graduate students, and various other student activities and programs.
The largest infusion of new funds will go into information technology, where $3,074,900 will pay for ongoing operational costs and the acquisition of software for administrative systems. Of the remaining $1.75 million in new funds to the campus, about $1.5 million will be used to cover non-unit and on-state salary increases, and $250,000 will be used for mandated cost increases, such as higher payments under the Federal Insurance Contributions Act (FICA) for Medicare.