The University of Houston System (UHS) Board of Regents, in its quarterly meeting Wednesday, approved a $1.36 billion budget for fiscal year (FY) 2012 that reflects a 5 percent decrease in operating expense costs per semester credit hour.
The reduction was accomplished through enhanced productivity and increased efficiencies the UH System universities achieved through program and personnel cuts and consolidations.
The reduction fulfills a pledge by UH System Chancellor Renu Khator to focus resources on student success initiatives. The budget was shaped on four principles: protect instruction and financial aid, reshape the workforce to give priority to positions that directly serve students, reduce operational costs and no salary increases.
The budget goes into effect Sept. 1.
The UH System consists of four universities - the University of Houston (UH), UH-Clear Lake (UHCL), UH-Downtown (UHD) and UH-Victoria (UHV), and two learning centers, UH System Cinco Ranch and UH System Sugar Land. It also includes branch campuses at Lone Star College-University Park and UHCL Pearland.
In developing its financial plan for FY 2012, UHS had to contend with a $46 million reduction in state allocations, while also facing the need to provide resources to maintain new facilities and repair and renovate the infrastructure of its existing facilities. Each UHS university was charged with strategically targeting reductions, while protecting resources aimed at increased graduation rates and student success. This was achieved, in part, by the elimination of 345 positions, including vacancies that remain unfilled, increased revenue from enrollment growth and moderate tuition increases.
For FY 2012 UHS committed $66 million toward student financial aid, a $9.9 million increase from the previous fiscal year. In bolstering its instructional workforce, the system has budgeted $257 million for faculty in priority academic programs, an increase of $5 million from FY 2011.
Broken down by university, the UHS budget is as follows:
• UH – $1 billion. The budget provides an additional $3.3 million for the recruitment and retention of faculty, particularly in key priority areas that support high-growth academic programs; adds $8.2 million for student financial aid; and increases the facilities budget by $8.4 million to address infrastructure issues and maintain new facilities, such as the Energy Research Park.
• UH-Clear Lake - $107 million. The budget provides an additional $400,000 for faculty in high-demand programs and the development of online academic programs, $500,000 for financial aid and additional resources to support the development of off-campus enrollment in Pearland and the Texas Medical Center.
• UH-Downtown - $144 million. The budget provides an increase of $750,000 to strengthening student advising services and academic programs that provide high-impact educational experiences, $500,000 for financial aid and $100,000 to increase campus security.
• UH-Victoria - $56 million. The budget provides for an increase in the instructional budget of $1.7 million to accommodate increased enrollment, enhances the staffing budget by $700,000 to support student rentention and graduation, increases financial aid by $700,000, and includes $2.1 million for special items that support its downward expansion.
“I am very appreciative of the hard work of everyone who weighed in and worked on the budget,” said Carroll Robertson Ray, chair of the UHS Board of Regents. “This budget preserves what’s important for us and ensures student success while being fiscally responsible during this difficult economic period.”
To view a summary of the FY12 budget, visit http://www.uh.edu/af/budget/FY2012PlanandBudget.pdf .
In other business, Regents confirmed the appointments of Philip D. Castille as president of UH-Victoria and of J. Richard Walker as vice chancellor/vice president for student affairs at UH. Regents also elected new officers: Nelda Blair will serve as chair, Mica Mosbacher will be vice chair and Jarvis Hollingsworth will be board secretary.
ABOUT THE UNIVERSITY OF HOUSTON SYSTEM
The University of Houston System is a comprehensive system of higher education institutions serving to further the intellectual capital and economic strength of the Gulf Coast region. The UH System includes the University of Houston, a nationally recognized Tier One public research university; the University of Houston-Downtown, a four-year undergraduate university expanding into graduate programs; the University of Houston-Victoria, a four-year university with undergraduate and master’s level degree programs; and the University of Houston- Clear Lake, an upper-division and master’s level institution. The system also includes two branch campuses, UH-Clear Lake Pearland and Lone Star College-University Park, as well as two multi-institution teaching centers, UH System Sugar Land and UH System Cinco Ranch. In addition, the System owns and operates KUHF-FM, Houston’s National Public Radio station; KUHA-FM, Houston’s 24-hour classical music station; and KUHT-TV, the nation’s first educational television station. To learn more about the UH System, visit http://www.uhsa.uh.edu/