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Departmental spending frozen, clubs left unharmed

Budget concerns have risen as of late at the University of St. Francis and its latest casualty has been department spending. As enrollment dwindles more than 20% compared to a year ago, previous estimates on budgeting for departments within the university have had to be corrected. Part of this correction is the freeze on spending from the university’s departments until further notice with the potential for the freeze to last until the next academic year.

With enrollment, returning students and overall funding down, USF has had to make some tough decisions in terms of cutbacks. Dean of Student Life Mollie Rockafellow wants to emphasize that student clubs and organizations will not experience any cutbacks during this round of budgetary restraints.

With the school’s annual budget estimates impacting the concurrent school year’s activities and expenditures, the department spending was the ideal candidate when the estimates were overly optimistic. Equipment, maintenance and the expansion of current or proposed department programs will be halted until a resolution can be made, but a drastic overestimation of transfer students in the spring put the nail in the coffin for the rest of the current school year.

SGA and the student led clubs and organizations will not be impacted with their budgets and resources but SGA President Carter St. Clair has emphasized clubs being responsible with their allocated funds and spending diligently for the interest of the specific club.

Club budgets will be adjusted next year as they always are, but for the rest of this year, the clubs will not have to worry about suffering the same fate as the university’s faculty-led departments.

USF is not alone in this struggle as Rockafellow notes, highlighting the plight of the entire higher education system with lower enrollment, less investment and in relation to the general population, fewer young adults in a position to decide to seek a postsecondary education. This downward trend has led to a response from the university, namely raising the cost of tuition and on-campus amenities for residents, which has exacerbated the problem even more.

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