Trustees approve $175 mil budget

The College’s Board of Trustees approved a $175 million budget for the 2012-13 academic year during its April 12-14 meeting. This budget will allow for an increase in student charges to provide more financial aid to those who qualify, increases in capital revenue costs and an increase in faculty research grants.

Overall, the budget is up $7.2 million from last year, a 4.3-percent increase. “Most of the increase to the operating budget was due to inflationary pressures rather than programmatic expansion,” Provost Will Dudley ’89 said.

President Falk said this year’s budget marks an adjustment to the changing economy. “When we were in a recession, we pulled back harder than any other institution in our peer group, and we were very, very responsible,” Falk said. “Some of the things we pulled back were actually things we discovered we didn’t need to be spending money on. Now that we have a little more freedom to spend our money, we’re spending [it] in areas we have always wanted to … We’ve done some rethinking of priorities.”

Dudley elaborated on the revenues and expenses covered in the budget. The College has four sources of revenue: endowment earnings, which comprise 47 percent of funding; student charges, which comprise 37 percent; gifts, which comprise 10 percent; and miscellaneous income, which comprises six percent.

Endowment earnings are reported to be up $0.9 million this year, or 4.5 percent of the total endowment value.

Student charges will increase by $3 million for 2012-13. This increase was implemented to adjust to the changed demands of students on financial aid in the current times, as the numbers had not been adjusted in recent years. There are two parts to the financial aid package: the raw calculation of how much it costs to attend the College and a discretionary fund for other student expenses. The discretionary allowance for aided students was increased for the coming year, seeing a 20 percent raise per student.

“A review of the allowance had revealed that it was no longer adequate to purchase these basic necessities with the $1200 in the discretionary allowance, so we made it a priority to increase it to $1500,” Dudley said.

In the third category of revenue, gifts saw an increase of $3.5 million.

Additionally, the upcoming fiscal year will see the first installment of an $100,000 Andrew W. Mellon grant for academic technology initiatives.

“The first installment of the Mellon grant will be used to develop and implement software for a new Academic Institutional Repository, which will host and make accessible digital collections and projects created by faculty and students,” Dudley explained. “Going forward, the grant will support the development of projects in digital teaching and scholarship, in conjunction with the Center for Media Initiatives in the new library.”

Dudley explained that the College has three primary expenses: compensation, which increased $2.1 million; operating budgets, which increased $4.4 million; and capital renewal, which increased $1.1 million.

Faculty research and travel budgets were also increased by 20 percent this year, from $2500 to $3000 annually. The increase was proposed in the past but was delayed due to the financial crisis. It is being implemented to allow faculty to participate in professional conferences that are essential to their work.

Capital renewal is the investment in maintaining the qualities of facilities at the College. It was cut significantly during the financial crisis but has been increased to return to sustainable levels.