Chancellor Kumble R. Subbaswamy shared a message today with the campus community about the Fiscal Year 2020 budget proposal released by the Senate Ways and Means Committee. The proposed Senate budget, which includes an unprecedented statutory tuition freeze with no associated funding to cover the university’s fixed costs, would produce an $8.2 million shortfall for our campus. The chancellor’s complete message is provided below.
Dear Campus Community,
I write to you today to convey my grave concerns about the Fiscal Year 2020 budget proposal released yesterday by the Senate Ways and Means Committee. The proposed Senate budget, which includes an unprecedented statutory tuition freeze with no associated funding to cover the university’s fixed costs, would produce an $8.2 million shortfall for our campus.
The budget cuts required to make up for this shortfall would be felt across the board by students, faculty and staff, and would impede the extraordinary progress we have made in recent years in student success, accessibility, and national rankings. If the Senate budget is enacted, the campus would be required to make deep cuts, including personnel reductions, to financial aid, student services, faculty hiring, research and extension support, IT support, deferred maintenance, and administrative overhead.
These cuts would come at a time when we have made exhaustive efforts to keep costs down for our students, while continuing to enhance the quality of the education we provide. UMass Amherst produces a budget plan each year that utilizes mandated financial targets and efficiency improvements to fund critical strategic priorities to enhance the student experience. During the past three fiscal years these measures have provided over $18M for enhanced instructional quality; access and affordability for our lowest income students; and investment in an aging campus infrastructure of buildings, IT and utilities. The campus has completed efficiency and effectiveness projects that have resulted in over $10M in cost savings in FY18 and an additional $20.5M in total cost savings expected through FY21. The savings include $2.5M annual internal reallocation of instructional resources to areas of greatest student and employer demand. This carefully planned allocation of resources has fueled dramatic improvements in graduation rates (76% graduating in just four years, up from 63% in 2012) and diversity (entering class 32% minority, up from 21% in 2012).
It is bewildering, given our proven track-record as responsible stewards of the resources entrusted to us and the remarkable results we have achieved for our students, that the Senate would propose to enact such measures. The budget put forth by the Senate would have a negative effect on the very academic and institutional qualities needed to ensure student access and success at UMass and would severely hinder our ability to produce the talented graduates who go on to fuel the Commonwealth’s innovation economy.
I want to assure you that we will continue to work through this process and will do everything in our power to ensure that these cuts do not become a reality.
Chancellor Kumble R. Subbaswamy