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IU, Ivy Tech moving forward despite state budget uncertainty

Legislators may not reach compromise before state budget expires June 30

By Nicole Brooks

June 25, 2009

Administrators at Indiana University and Ivy Tech are being pulled into a new fiscal year without a budget, forcing both to take necessary but uncomfortable steps to keep operating.

Ivy Tech’s 23 campuses statewide are moving forward with their 2008-09 budget, bolstered by money from the college’s cash reserves.

“We have a no-pay-raise, no-layoff budget,” Ivy Tech president Tom Snyder said Wednesday.

Also dealing with a stalled state budget process, IU trustees will meet Friday to approve a resolution that allows the university to operate at its current budget level “until such time as the board can take action” on a budget for the 2009-10 fiscal year.

The board of trustees’ finance and audit committee will meet by telephone conference in the Indiana Memorial Union to vote on the resolution.

State legislators still are meeting in special session at the Statehouse to try to pass a new state budget before the current one expires June 30.

Earlier this year, Indiana Gov. Mitch Daniels cut $1.6 million from the Ivy Tech system’s $162.4 million appropriation, and Ivy Tech will replace that lost money by depleting its reserves, Snyder said.

“It will actually leave us slightly in the red in our reserves,” but it’s the only way to avoid layoffs, he said. “Based on the governor’s budget, we’ll be able to put some of it back by the end of the second year.”

Taking money from Ivy Tech’s cash reserves is the “prudent” move, preferable to dramatically increasing tuition costs, he said.

“We don’t want to transfer the lack of state revenue onto the backs of our existing students.”

Snyder said while tuition rates have not yet been set, he anticipates an increase of 5 percent at most. He said trustees plan to meet in mid-July to set tuition.

Ivy Tech gets about 40 percent of its operating budget from state funding.

Rather than cap enrollment or hand out pink slips, Ivy Tech is instituting a class section cap. Last fall, the Bloomington campus offered 980 sections, and this fall’s options will be similar in number, Chancellor John Whikehart said earlier this month. Once the class sections are full, they’re full, he said. Students registering late may find their desired class sections closed to them.

Enrollment continues to grow at the community college. Ivy Tech Bloomington’s summer semester enrollment is up 26 percent compared with last summer’s numbers.

The number of full-time equivalent students is also up, by more than 32 percent over last summer, according to an Ivy Tech news release.

IU’s trustees have waited on a state budget to set the university’s own budget and tuition rates. The board plans to hold a special meeting in July to vote on these matters, but no meeting date has been set.

In 2008-09, state money accounted for more than 18 percent of the Bloomington campus’s operating budget.