Regents Approve $116.5 Million FY18 Operating Budget

The Southeast Missouri State University Board of Regents today approved a $116.5 million operating budget and $37.42 million in auxiliary operating budgets for the University, both for fiscal 2018, which begins July 1. The budget includes a 2.8 percent increase to tuition and fees assessed to students for the 2017-2018 academic year approved by the Board in May along with expense reductions and revenue increases recommended by the Budget Review Committee this past spring. The approved budget is based on an 8.5 percent reduction in state appropriations for fiscal 2018 equating to a $4.07 million decrease for Southeast, $1.8 million in costs to continue and a $220,000 investment in need-based aid and retention software. Dr. Carlos Vargas, president of Southeast Missouri State University, said the 8.5 percent reduction is based on Gov. Eric Greitens’ proposed budget and state revenue projections. While the Missouri House and Senate have approved HB03 calling for a smaller 6.58 percent base operating appropriations reduction for public higher education institutions, Greitens has not signed that bill, he said. The $116.5 million operating budget includes $2.05 million in revenue increases for FY18 from a slight tuition rate increase for the coming year, a Student Government reallocated general fee for need-based aid, an increased overhead contribution from auxiliary operations, excess application and installment payment plan fees, and increased transcript and orientation fees, Vargas said. The University also has committed to $4.05 million in expense reductions to be implemented in FY18 and FY19 to meet the FY18 budget need. They include changes to employee benefits, salary and benefit savings from replacing existing and future vacant faculty and staff positions at entry level, and personnel and operating budget reductions across all divisions. Reductions include eliminating 13 vacant positions, closing the St. Louis Outreach Office, multiple changes to employee health insurance benefits beginning with a mid-year plan change for 2017 effective in July, reduced banking and finance charges, and department reorganizations, including Kent Library and Public Safety. The budget – which offers no FY18 salary increases due to budget constraints -- includes estimated income of $43.7 million in state appropriations, accounting for 38 percent of the University’s total general operating budget, Vargas said. The budget also includes estimated income of $67.7 million in student fees, accounting for 58.9 percent of Southeast’s total general operating budget and $3.6 million from other sources, accounting for 3.1 percent of the total budget. The Regents also approved the fiscal 2018 operating budgets for the University’s “auxiliary” units, totaling $37.42 million. These self-supporting operations include such units as Southeast Textbook Services, the Student Recreation Center, the Show Me Center, the University Center, Telecommunications, Residence Life, Parking and Transit, and KRCU-FM National Public Radio. Vargas noted that Cottonwood Treatment Facilities are not included as an auxiliary operation for FY18 as previously designated. The University historically had leased Cottonwood to the Missouri Department of Mental Health. Due to budget constraints, the lease was assumed by the Community Counseling Center July 1, 2015. Since then, the Community Counseling Center has acquired property and given notice to terminate its lease during fiscal year 2018. The best use of these facilities is being considered as part of the University Master Plan, Vargas said.