KU announces budget cuts by school, unit; impacts vary from zero to 12% reductions

photo by: Chris Conde/Journal-World File Photo

Strong Hall on the University of Kansas campus is shown on Sept. 13, 2018.

Updated at 4:58 p.m. Wednesday

The University of Kansas announced varying budget cuts for academic and administrative units on Wednesday — ranging from zero to 12% — to address its structural deficit.

The units with the largest cuts are the School of Music and the School of Engineering, which will both have a 12% reduction of the fiscal year 2021 general use budget. The second largest cuts are 10% reductions, which will affect the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, the School of Pharmacy, the School of Law, the Office of the Chancellor, Public Affairs, the Provost’s Office, the Office of Research and the finance unit.

Academic and administrative units averaged 8.5% and 5.8% budget reductions, respectively. Provost Barbara Bichelmeyer wrote that KU’s academic units are typically funded at a higher-than-average rate to its peers, whereas its administrative units are funded at the 25th percentile compared to peers.

Two units, International Affairs and the Office of Diversity, Equity, Inclusion and Belonging, saw no cuts.

“There is no way to sugar coat the impact of our financial situation,” Bichelmeyer wrote. “After these budget reductions are realized, KU will look and be different. At the same time, we can still be a place that prides itself for excellence in innovation, discovery and learning.”

Bichelmeyer’s message did not indicate how the cuts would occur nor how many people might lose their positions. A KU spokesperson did not immediately respond to a request for comment regarding those questions.

In her Wednesday message, Bichelmeyer said that budget planning was guided by three considerations: What revenue a unit generates to cover its operations costs, how much money KU has at the campus level to cover the gap when unit expenses exceed revenues and how KU can allocate funds to create a return on investment and move the university into an upward climb.

“After a decade of cutting, it is clear that KU can no longer apply across-the-board budget reductions without doing even greater damage to our collective viability,” Bichelmeyer wrote. “We established criteria to help guide our allocation decisions, always with institutional stewardship, and our goals and priorities in mind.”

Bichelmeyer also stated the factors that were taken into account for the budget decisions.

For academic units, KU took into account units’ revenues and expenses relative to their peers’, teaching and research productivity compared to peers, ability to generate revenue through other sources, personnel compensation and vacancy rates, research and degree program strength, degree and research programs in strategic areas, growth potential and capability to subsidize other areas of the university.

For administrative units, KU took into account units’ cost of administrative functions relative to peers and alignment with strategic priorities, such as enrollment growth, student persistence and diversity, equity, inclusion and belonging.

“As a result, some units will experience the impact of cuts more strongly than others, and there will be some very good things we’ve done in the past that we simply will no longer be able to do,” she wrote.

Bichelmeyer cited a need to “right-size” and “right-fit” KU.

Here’s a look at the budget reductions by unit for fiscal year 2022. The percentage on the left is for percent reduction of fiscal year 2021 general use budget, and the percent on the right is for percent reduction of the fiscal year 2021 total budget. Bichelmeyer wrote in her message that units with research funds, endowment funds or course fee funds would have a smaller reduction when applied to the total budget.

Academic Units:

School of Business: -1%, -0.6%

School of Journalism/Mass Communications: -3%, -2.6%

School of Architecture and Design: -3%, -2.5%

School of Education and Human Sciences: -5%, -4.7%

School of Social Welfare: -5%, -4.3%

College of Liberal Arts and Sciences: -10%, -9.4%

School of Pharmacy: -10%, -5.7%

School of Law: -10%, -6.7%

School of Music: -12%, -10.9%

School of Engineering: -12%, -8.6%

Administrative Units:

Diversity, Equity, Inclusion & Belonging: 0%, 0%

International Affairs: 0%, 0%

Operations: -1%, -0.5%

Enrollment Management: -2%, -1.6%

Lifelong and Professional Education: -2%, 0%

Information Technology: -3%, -2.7%

Academic Success: -5%, -3.8%

Faculty Development: -5%, -3.9%

Student Affairs: -5%, -0.2%

Academic Affairs: -5%, -3.6%

Edwards Campus: -5%, -2.1%

Libraries: -7%, -4.4%

Office of the Chancellor: -10%, -5.8%

Public Affairs: -10%, -7.4%

Provost Office: -10%, -9.9%

Office of Research: -10%, -2.4%

CFO/Finance: -10%, -9.2%


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