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Trustees approve $299 million budget

Aug. 1, 2007

KALAMAZOO--Acting at a special public session July 31, the Western Michigan University Board of Trustees approved an estimated general fund operating budget of nearly $299 million for 2007-08.

The budget, which is $3.7 million higher than the 2006-07 estimated budget, includes a $5.9 million shortfall, which the University expects to cover with the use of one-time funds.

Constructed without knowing the level of state higher education funding for the coming year, the WMU budget is based on an anticipated state appropriation of nearly $2 million less than last year's appropriation, reflecting Michigan budget cuts to base budgets taken in May. The budget does, however, anticipate the University will receive its delayed final payment of $10.2 million for 2006-07, which the state has promised to pay after the Oct. 1 start of Michigan's fiscal year.

"We have worked very hard on this budget to ensure that we maintain the quality and level of service that brings our students to WMU and still keep WMU affordable, with the lowest tuition increase in the state this year and the Western Edge, which is focused on moving students quickly toward graduation," said University President John M. Dunn in presenting the budget to the board. "Now it is up to the state to live up to its commitment to our students and families and provide the vital funding that will allow us to keep tuition at a level that will ensure students have access to this great university."

Major revenue ingredients to the WMU budget include nearly $111 million in anticipated state appropriations and more than $176 million expected in tuition income. Expected tuition revenue includes a 6.4 percent increase in tuition approved by trustees July 24.

Expense changes include a budgeted compensation increase amounting to nearly $4.8 million, which includes contractual pay obligations as well as a 2 percent increase to employee groups that have not had pay raises for two years. The pay raises will go to professional support staff and administrative professionals who Dunn characterized as "very productive" and part of a strong team effort to improve service to students and student retention.

"We would like to do more than this modest 2 percent increase," Dunn said, "but our resources do not permit a greater salary allocation at this time."

Other increases to the budget include financial aid and library acquisitions totaling some $2.2 million, utility cost increases of $1 million, and a return of suspended program support for summer session classes that will cost another $2 million.

The budget also includes targeted reductions totaling $10.6 million that will be taken across the University. Most WMU units already know and are working toward their budget reduction targets.

Media contact: Cheryl Roland, (269) 387-8400, cheryl.roland@wmich.edu

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