As DePaul continues to advance the goals of its Vision 2018 strategic plan, the university is considering a conservative budget proposed for 2016-17 that includes a bit of good news for everyone.
In the proposed budget, DePaul would fund a compensation increase pool for eligible full- and part-time faculty and staff and increase its match of employees' 403(b) contributions. In addition, the university would provide funding administered by the Office of Academic Affairs for new faculty initiatives. For students, in the proposed budget the university is eliminating the enrollment registration fee and will set aside additional funds to offset any unexpected shortfalls in government financial aid.
On a unanimous vote, the Strategic Resource Allocation Committee, known as SRAC, recommended the proposed $566 million budget to the Rev. Dennis H. Holtschneider, C.M., president, who accepted the proposal in December. The finance committee of the Board of Trustees unanimously endorsed the proposed budget at its December meeting and will recommend it for full Board of Trustees approval later this spring.
"The budget process is never easy, which is why I have a great amount of appreciation for the members of SRAC," Holtschneider says. "Throughout their deliberations, they showed a deep devotion to this institution, the students we serve and people who work here. DePaul is fortunate to have such committed advocates."
The nine members of SRAC, representing students, faculty and staff, began meeting in the fall to consider broad financial decisions, such as tuition pricing and employee compensation, for 2016-17. Budget planning for individual departments and units occurred in September. At the same time, Enrollment Management and Marketing and Academic Affairs reviewed fall enrollment results and projected enrollment and financial aid for the coming year.
Since DePaul earns most of its revenue from tuition, enrollment projections guide how SRAC budgets university spending. At the direction of the Board of Trustees finance committee, SRAC began with a conservative enrollment estimate for fall 2016 of 23,194 students, 1.5 percent fewer than this year's actual fall enrollment.
SRAC recommended a moderate tuition pricing increase for new undergraduate students, with lower increases for continuing undergraduates and graduate students. Institutional financial aid will increase nearly 7 percent over the previous year's budget to $215 million. The university also will add funds, primarily for students, to increase wages to a minimum of $10.50 per hour, as required by law.
The university agreed to find new ways for SRAC- or another representative body - to broaden the current deliberation of annual expenditures to address longer-term strategic matters. The university also will undertake a study of tenure track trends.
"While DePaul is not immune to the economic and competitive pressures faced by higher education institutions nationwide, the cost reductions made by the university in previous years have placed us in a stronger overall position," Holtschneider says. "I thank the SRAC members for their hard work in developing a budget that supports the university's goals and mission."
Voting members of SRAC
- Vanessa Cadavillo, Student Government Association president
- Marten denBoer, provost
- Bob Kozoman, executive vice president and chair of SRAC (retired as of Jan. 4)
- David Miller, dean, College of Computing and Digital Media
- Thomas Mondschean, Faculty Council representative
- Sherri Sidler, controller
- Robert Ryan, Staff Council president (completed service in November 2015)
- Michaela Winchatz, Faculty Council president
- Paul Zionts, dean, College of Education