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Wednesday, January 14, 2009

TSU must cut $9M from budget

Tennessee State University could face furloughs and layoffs in the next year as the school faces a proposed 15 percent cut in state money as well as declining student revenues.

TSU President Melvin Johnson delivered the news last week in his "State of the University" address.

In TSU's report to the Tennessee Higher Education Commission this week, the school planned to use layoffs, voluntary furloughs and possibly larger classes to reach the $9 million in cuts to the school's budget. State higher education funds overall probably will decrease at least 15 percent, or $181.6 million, in the next fiscal year.

Johnson did not give specifics when asked about layoffs or furloughs, only saying all plans were on the table. The school laid off 10 employees last year.

After Johnson's address, faculty and staff members proposed possible cuts and savings, including an online warehouse for departments to keep running inventories of office supplies and renting out university spaces for conferences.

Revenue from students will be increasingly important, Johnson said, as state appropriations decrease. Johnson displayed a chart that showed $57.1 million, or 56 percent, of the school's budget came from student tuition and fees.

The tuition revenues were down $6.8 million from last year as enrollment dropped nearly 700 students to 8,400 this fall. Johnson fired the financial aid director and reassigned several top officials after students complained about student services.

As of late Thursday, about 750 students had not paid or had not confirmed their registration on the school's intranet, meaning their schedules for the spring semester would be dropped. The school switched to the Banner student registration system in the fall, resulting in confusion over changes in requirements.

All students who had not paid or confirmed their registration by mid-December were notified by e-mail to their TSU accounts and by phone, said Cynthia Brooks, TSU vice president of business and finance.

Candace Carr, a senior nursing student, received an e-mail from the school when she hadn't confirmed her schedule. She took care of it that day.

"It went smoothly," Carr said. "My sister had the same system at her school (University of Tennessee-Chattanooga), so she told me I needed to confirm my classes."


Trina said...

As a Big Blue Tiger Alum, this is sooo disheartening! Its a financially difficult time for everyone across industries- education and otherwise. I truly believe, however, that the solution is in solidarity. That said... Tigers STAND UP!! If TSU is responsible for your current professional success, then pay it forward to someone else! ; ) That is the founding principle for all HBCUs, and the sooner we accept and FOLLOW that creed, the stronger we (all HBCUs) will be. I look forward to giving back to TSU in 2009. This is our year, ya'll! BLACK IS THE NEW BLACK!!! Speaking of which, check out!!! Gotta start somewhere, right?!!?

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