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TCNJ Reacts to Drastic State Budget Cuts

Higher Ed RallyApproximately $4 million of the $12.1 million cut in TCNJ’s funding proposed by Governor Jon Corzine has been restored. This will allow the College to avoid a one-week closure and furlough of employees and will enable the reinstatement of funding for library acquisitions. The College also hopes to reduce the number of positions vacated through attrition and provide a small pool of money for salary increases for non-unit staff members at range 29 and below. Language incorporated into the state budget precludes salary increases for “senior managers,” so TCNJ is deferring any action until the language’s meaning and intent can be clarified.

The College must still address an $8 million reduction in support, which is comprised of the following:

  • A cut to TCNJ’s base appropriation of approximately $3 million
  • No funding for the salary program increases negotiated by the state (over $3.5 million impact for TCNJ)
  • A phase out the Outstanding Scholar Recruitment Program (no state funding for the students entering in the fall), which will exacerbate our state’s enormous brain drain problem by sending many of New Jersey’s best and brightest out of state for college and, ultimately, their professional careers. TCNJ will honor the state's obligation to these students through reserves, at a cost of more than $1.5 million.

 

In order to compensate for this monumental loss of state funding, TCNJ will rely on a mix of expenditure cuts and revenue enhancements detailed below:

Personnel Expenditure Reductions:

  • Over $1.4 million will be cut from non-faculty personnel through attrition. These cuts through attrition are particularly difficult because over the last four years, as we protected the academic core, we already made substantial cuts in this area (approximately $2 million). There will be consequences to this action, including a reduction in plant services; construction projects and move requests will take longer. Reduction of staff lines in networking services will result in delays in scheduled building network upgrades as well as network problems and outages taking longer to analyze and resolve. There will be postponement of numerous software upgrades and administrative system maintenance and enhancements will be limited. No new ‘smart’ classrooms will be created in fiscal 2007 and training, internal services, and programs for staff and faculty will be limited.  There will be an increase in user responsibility for support of specialized software and User Support Staff response time will increase (from 48 hours to 60 hours). There will be a reduction in community outreach events, promotion of college events, and editorial services for campus clients; publications will be minimized; and the frequency of web updates will be reduced.
  • There will be no salary increases for senior management.
  • Thirteen full-time tenure track faculty lines are being held open this year. This will result in an increased use of adjunct faculty teaching courses, larger class sizes, and shifts in responsibilities that allow for less faculty time available for student mentoring and advising as well as fewer faculty available to participate in curricular development and assessment.
  • There is an additional $200,000 decrease in allocation for personnel: $100,000 for temporary faculty and $100,000 from the athletics department.
  • Over $800,000 has been saved in a major modification of the graduate student waiver and stipend program.

 

Non-Personnel Expenditure Reductions:

  • Funding for TCNJ's cheerleading and varsity men's golf teams has been eliminated.
  • Over $400,000 has been cut from departmental allocations, institutional commitments, office equipment, maintenance equipment and vehicles.
  • Over $400,000 has been cut from maintenance projects.
  • Over $500,000 has been cut from information technology.
  • There will be a deferment of our standard 4 year replacement cycle of information technology with limited upgrades to only the most critically needed desktop machines, and limited upgrades to central and department servers.
  • There will be significant reductions in acquisition of new academic and administrative department requested software and hardware and deferred network upgrades could increase the risk of network failures.
  • The debt service for the co-generation plant ($675,000) has been moved from the general fund to capital reserves. As a consequence large scale asset renewal projects (typically covered by capital reserves) may need to be deferred (including repairs to roofing systems, building envelopes, heating and cooling systems, athletic fields, signage, walkways and other campus physical assets).
  • Over $230,000 has been saved in energy savings programs and the gas hedge program.
  • Phase 1B of the Student Administration project, comprised of the Student Financials and Financial Aid modules, will be delayed for 2 years.  We will be operating in two separate systems for a longer period than originally planned.  (This decision will allow us to cover the state’s obligation for our already admitted OSRP students from reserves rather than from general operating funds.)
  • The budget for travel has been cut by $100,000.

Even with this focus on expenditure cuts, it is necessary for the College to increase revenues. TCNJ Foundation will be increasing its distribution to the College by 50-percent, from $1 million to $1.5 million. Undergraduate enrollment will also rise by more than 100 students, and undergraduate tuition for New Jersey residents will increase by eight percent.

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State Budget News

Comments from President Gitenstein

In remarks before TCNJ’s Board of Trustees on Tuesday, July 11, President R. Barbara Gitenstein thanked members of the College community—students, faculty, staff, alumni—and legislators who advocated for restoration of higher education funding. “I was continually humbled and gratified by the support, advice, and advocacy that came from so many members of our community,” she said. “Faculty, staff, and students were actively engaged, and the College is particularly indebted in this recent struggle to our exceptionally generous alumni, trustees, and friends—including those friends in the legislature who, from the beginning of the discussion, advocated for some restoration of funds to higher education. Without these advocates and supporters, the negative impact of the state’s dismal financial circumstance would have been substantially worse on the operations of TCNJ.”

R. Barbara Gitenstein         
President                                         
The College of New Jersey

MEDIA CONTACT

Executive Director of Public Relations and Communications

Matthew Golden

P) 609.771.2368

E) golden@tcnj.edu