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Budgeting Bernies

Students across campus have started to see a decline in hours at their on-campus jobs. All departments have significantly decreased hours for students from 10 hours a week to just one or two. Some departments have had to go as far as cutting some positions with little to no explanation for the students.

Budgets all across the board have gotten tighter since the start of the second semester. Clubs especially have been discussing this as their budget proposals for the next school year approached. Almost all of the clubs on campus are expected to get a budget cut in the coming school year. This leaves students upset; all clubs need funding, but how much of the provided funding will be deemed unnecessary?

The Vice President of Administration and Finance Julee Gard explains that the budget cuts are related to the university's recent loss of revenue.

“We construct our budget here every year for our expenses to be covered by all student revenues, like tuition and room and board,” Gard said. “We are a tuition dependent institution and the reality is that we have fewer students now in comparison to a few years ago.”

Being a tuition dependent school creates a tighter budget when an initial expectation is not met. Much of the budget comes from the incoming freshmen and transfer students' tuition and room and board. The expectation for this previous year was not met. There was not only lower enrollment than expected, but fewer students are staying on campus than in the past.

“We were expecting more transfer students and we had some expectations for our residence halls,” Gard said. “A lot of our recent full-time [and] first-time students come from a local area and do not need the residential accommodations. None of this is a cause for panic, but it does change our budget from the previous assumption.”

Gard is encouraging leaders across campus to be mindful of their spending.

“We are just reminding people to live within their means,” Gard said. “Just because there are not as many students to start as we had thought does not mean you pay more now. It is not your fault.”

Gard wants people to really think about their spending habits from the budget. Budgets were made with the understanding that all allocated money was necessary to the health of the club. Budgeting is important, and when the cuts come it is important to remember what the order of importance is. As easy as it is to get pizza for a meeting or give away a prize to increase interaction, is it really always necessary?

“Does it have to be spent because it is pertaining to the quality of our instruction or the health and safety of our students and employees?” Gard said. “Or is it more something that would just be nice to have and maybe you do not need to spend that money?”

Money across campus has gotten tighter and tighter with the progressive decline of incoming students. Students and faculty alike are facing these difficulties together, however they are not all seeing eye-to-eye.

Everyone wants to keep their budget because to each individual, that budget is reasonably allocated.

With these challenges growing it is important to remember that the budgets all over have been compromised. Student hours, club budgets, even campus budgets have seen some cuts across the board. As a student body it is important to be mindful of how the money delegated to your club or organization is being managed. Having pizza at a club meeting or doing a big ticket giveaway is fun, but is it truly necessary?

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