Update on Metropolitan State budget development and financial status
To the Metropolitan State University community:
I am writing to provide an update on the university’s financial status, our progress preparing the Fiscal year 2019 University Budget, and a preview of next steps in the budget development process.
In November, I had mentioned that continuing environmental factors (regional enrollment and employment trends), and constraints (current state funding levels, a FY19 tuition freeze, and the uncertain impact of the settlement of collective bargaining agreements) make it necessary for us to be conservative when projecting our budget position for FY19. A more in-depth analysis has since validated our cautious approach.
Given the current picture of our revenue and expense trends, we will clearly be looking for expense reductions in FY19. The planning process will be deliberate, aligned, and accountable, involving the Resource Planning and Alignment Council, our other university councils, and our collective bargaining units in the larger conversation.
We are committed to a planning process that includes a broad university discussion. It is now clear that the quality of planning that we aspire to, and the campus-wide consultation that we are committed to, will mean that our campus conversations will begin after our spring break. Perhaps, given the significant time and attention we devoted to conducting a rigorous and very successful search for a permanent vice president for Finance and Administration (CFO), it is not surprising that our desired timeline has slipped a few weeks.
In the meanwhile, we still have adequate time to complete our budget preparation in time to support our own broader planning efforts for FY19, and to meet system requirements. We plan to move up the timeline for this process each year, but our current priorities are to prepare a balanced, data-informed budget that will support the extraordinary programs and services we offer to our students, and to inform that budget through a university-wide information sharing and discussion process.
I want to assure you that, in tandem with our work on the FY19 budget, we are developing strategies for Metropolitan State’s long-term sustainability. (If you are interested, the Minnesota State system’s Long-Term Sustainability Study is available at this URL ). After the spring break, we will share relevant information, ideas, and strategies as a basis for our broader conversations.
This is not the only planning under way. I look forward with real excitement to the opportunities before us in the year ahead—opportunities for strategic partnerships, program innovation, regional visibility, support from newly-elected officials, delightful commencement experiences, and more. The resource planning work we are doing now lays the foundation to support our students’ achievements and futures.
Finally, please join me in welcoming our new vice president for Finance and Administration, Ms. Tracy Hatch. I am very confident in her experience and abilities, and her enthusiasm for Metropolitan State’s mission and goals is evident. I look forward to her contributions to our shared work. One of Tracy’s many contributions will be as the author of future budget-related campus messages.
President Virginia "Ginny" Arthur, JD
Metropolitan State University