Only four higher education institutions received less state money per student than UMD last year, and UMD’s recurring revenue minus its recurring expenditures shortfall jeopardizes academic programs. Chancellor Lendley Black said UMD is facing a $6 million recurring deficit, and has been mandated by President Eric Kaler to close that hole in the next two years. UMD will make its official budget request by the end of February and will meet with Twin Cities’ vice presidents to discuss that request on March 11.
“Hardly any decisions are made (at the March 11 meeting),” Black said, “and it’s not formal. It’s a discussion. We present what our request is, they provide us feedback.”
After the March 11 meeting, the vice presidents make budget recommendations to President Kaler regarding UMD and the other 50 accounting units within the University of Minnesota system. By the end of April or early May, President Kaler will put forth his recommended operating budget, which usually closely reflects final actual allocations.
“(The president’s recommendations) are still officially tentative, but they tend to hold pretty well,” Black said. “They’re officially tentative until the Board of Regents approves the budget at their June meeting.”
Sometimes discussion continues after the March meeting, which was the case last year when the Twin Cities helped UMD restructure debt and covered some of its recurring deficit. Black said much of the final allocation figures depend upon the legislature’s total appropriations to the University of Minnesota.
Yet even if the University of Minnesota as a whole received more money from the state, there is no guarantee that UMD will get more money because state allocations are distributed to campuses completely at President Kaler's discretion.
State funding has increased over the past few years, but there is still widespread belief among faculty that UMD remains underfunded.
The University of Minnesota’s revenues and expenditures of non-sponsored funds, which include state money, tuition, fees and the vast majority of available funding and expenses, are recorded on the UMN fiscal pages. The document is available on the UMN budget and finance website.
According to the UMN fiscal pages, UMD's recurring expenditures exceeded recurring revenues by $4.9 million last year. According to that same document, UMN ran a system-wide recurring revenues minus recurring expenditures surplus of $151 million.
Money from the central campus is allocated to budgetary units every year, but these budget units can also transfer money between themselves. Net transfers – which are different than cost pool allocations paying for system-wide expenses – are listed on the UMN fiscal pages. According to the UMN fiscal pages, UMD had a net transfer out of $3.3 million last year, implying that, after transfers in and transfers out were added together, $3.3 million was transferred out of UMD to other budget units. In fiscal year 2013, UMN fiscal pages report that UMD transferred out a net amount of $11.7 million.
According to the UMN fiscal pages, in fiscal year 2014 the Twin Cities College of Liberal Arts received a $12.6 million net transfer in, their College of Food, Agriculture and Natural Resource Sciences received a $5.5 million net transfer in, their College of Education and Human Development received a $3.7 million net transfer in, their College of Biological Sciences received a $2 million net transfer in, and their College of Science and Engineering received a $1.6 million net transfer in. Their College of Continuing Education had $786,000 net transfer out in fiscal year 2014.
BY JOHN FAHNENSTIEL