VOL. 24. NO.1 AUGUST 12, 2003
Campus units deal with state budget cuts
BY MARINA DUNDJERSKI AND CYNTHIA LEE
UCLA Today Staff
The 2003-04 state budget recently signed by Gov. Gray Davis makes $410 million in state funding cuts to the University of California — $20.5 million to UCLA — and its effects are already being felt.
UC’s net state-funded budget in 2003-04 will be $2.9 billion — 8%, or $248 million, less than last year’s final budget, and 10% less than the $3.22 billion with which UC began 2002-03, before mid-year cuts took effect. Since 2001-02, UC’s state-funded budget has fallen 13.6%, or $455 million.
Chancellor Albert Carnesale, in anticipation of reductions, had specified a series of cuts and had asked deans and vice chancellors last month to take steps to protect the institution’s academic core.
At UCLA, major cuts include: $2 million to research (10%), $3.3 million to student services (9%-30%) and up to a 50% reduction to outreach. General reductions to all other academic and administrative units will range from 2.5%-5%.
“I am confident,” said Carnesale, “that each dean and vice chancellor will develop budgetary responses that optimize the balance between the need to reduce expenditures and protect essential academic and administrative functions with the need to recognize and value the human component within the numbers.”
Steven A. Olsen, vice chancellor for finance and budget, explained that the cuts will not apply uniformly across campus units. In some cases, it is too early to tell how they will be carried out. Here are a few examples of how cuts are affecting units:
Research. While research will lose $2 million in state funding, research dollars overall at UCLA have gone up 2%, to $785 million within the last year. “In the aggregate, the cuts don’t look bad, but in detail, they are, because of the way the cuts are targeted,” said Roberto Peccei, vice chancellor for research. “Most of our research program funding at UCLA does not come directly from the state, but the organized research units rely heavily on state dollars.”
For example, the ethnic study centers — the American Indian Studies Center, the Asian American Studies Center, the Ralph J. Bunche Center for African American Studies and the Chicano Studies Research Center — and the UCLA Institute of American Cultures, their umbrella organization, are taking a 20% cut, totaling $200,000. That cut will be devastating because of their small size and extensive programming, said Vice Chancellor Claudia Mitchell-Kernan, who leads the centers. “This is one of the biggest setbacks we’ve ever had. The centers depend on every dollar they get,” she said. The cuts will likely lead to fewer programs, reduced operating hours for their libraries, less research support for graduate students and faculty, and limited community outreach.
Peter Reill, director of both the Center for 17th- and 18th-Century Studies and the William Andrews Clark Memorial Library, said that he will do everything possible to preserve jobs and fellowship funding, including dipping into the endowment and stepping up fund-raising efforts. Faculty retention is a major concern, he added. “Once units like mine that help scholars do what they need to do are cut, there will be fewer reasons to stay at UCLA,” he said.
The library received a 7% ($2.1 million) cut. It will deal with $450,000 of it by canceling subscriptions to more than 1,400 journals. (See www.library.ucla. edu/serials.) “We’re confident that we can sustain the collections needs this coming year because we have received increases in the past and we haven’t carried out a cancellation project in about five years,” said Cynthia Shelton, associate university librarian for collections and technical services. Last week, Carnesale provided a permanent allocation of $800,000 to the library’s collections budget. “This is a tremendous help to preserving our collections for teaching and research needs through the next year and a half,” Shelton said.
The Arthur Ashe Student Health and Wellness Center and Student Psychological Services have each received a 15% cut. Funded by student fees, the two units may for the first time begin charging a fee-for-service — perhaps in the $10-$15 range — to students who are not enrolled in the Student Health Insurance Plan (SHIP). While the fee plan has been approved, the amount has yet to be determined. SHIP students instead will pay an additional $60 per year in insurance premiums. Despite the per-visit fees, Student Psychological Services will still be hurting. “We do not believe it will be enough to cover more than half of the $300,000 cut,” said Albert Setton, deputy assistant vice chancellor for student development and health and executive director of the Ashe center. “We’re really struggling with how to manage that without cutting critical staff when increasing numbers of students are seeking our services.”
Two years after the regents agreed that it was imperative that graduate student support be increased, the situation is more dire than ever, said Graduate Division administrators. At least $2.8 million in graduate fellowship resources at UCLA is being shifted to pay other costs. A new allocation formula adopted by the UC Office of the President designates that about $1.1 million of these funds will be shifted to other UC campuses to support their budgeted undergraduate enrollment growth and pay fee increases for their teaching assistants. Also, $1.8 million traditionally used to fund Graduate Division fellowships and block grant allocations to departments will be used to pay increased fee remissions for UCLA teaching assistants. As it now stands, said Mitchell-Kernan, dean of the Graduate Division, there are no resources to pay for the recent fee increase for graduate students who were promised earlier this year that their full fees and tuition would be covered.
In order to maintain core services, Business and Administrative Services is merging some operations, streamlining processes, eliminating redundancies and sharing resources. “In administration, we’ve had budget cuts of more than 8% since 2001-02,” said Associate Administrative Vice Chancellor Sam Morabito. “And in areas where we have reg-fee funding, we’ve had cuts of more than 20%. To deal with this very difficult situation, we’ve had to look at our entire organization.” In a department with 3,500 FTE, roughly 75-100 open positions have not been filled; some senior positions, including one for an associate vice chancellor in administration, have been eliminated. “This means that we’re asking our loyal university staff to do more work. And they are doing it, even though it’s difficult,” Morabito said.
A cut that may reach 50% to outreach programs will affect primarily those that serve students from low-performing schools and disadvantaged backgrounds. UCLA’s Early Academic Outreach Programs that aim to increase students’ eligibility for college and academic competitiveness will be affected, as will many UCLA student-initiated outreach and community college programs. Efforts by the Graduate Division, law, medicine and engineering to engage students from underrepresented groups in professional careers also will be impacted. “We know which programs will be affected, but we still don’t know to what degree. Not every single program will necessarily be cut by 50%,” said Aimée Dorr, co-chair of the UCLA Outreach Steering Committee and the dean of the Graduate School of Education & Information Studies. Working with UCOP’s Office of Educational Outreach, the campus will formulate a plan for how to manage the cuts.
Despite the cuts made this year to deal with a $38-billion state budget deficit, California will still face a deficit estimated at $7.9 billion in 2004-05. To deal with current and future cuts, UC officials are borrowing $40 million to $50 million this year and looking reluctantly at the possibility of increasing student fees again as well as curtailing enrollment for the fall 2004 freshman class. Curtailing enrollments will have a relatively modest impact at UCLA, which is currently planning to grow by 200 more students in 2004-05, Olsen said.
As budget cuts reach deeper, Olsen said, some units may experience a slowdown in the ability to hire new faculty, or begin to rely more heavily on teaching by ladder faculty and less by lecturers. There may also be some impact on course offerings.
Salaries are also a critical issue, Olsen said. The state budget contains no funding for range or merit adjustments for staff or faculty. UCOP, however, will provide UCLA with $5.5 million in permanent funds to support the merit adjustments for eligible faculty and other academic employees in 2003-04.