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Tech Working To Eliminate $7 Million From Budget

/ The Upper Cumberland's News Leader

The Tennessee Tech Board of Trustees approved a new fiscal year budget with no pay raises as the school tries to close a $7 million budget shortfall.

Vice President for Planning and Finance Claire Stinson said the University lost some $3 million in state funding. Tuition and other revenue sources are expected to decrease by about $4 million.

“Of course, the very first thing that we’re going to take out of that is the budgeted salary increases,” Stinson said. “That was around $1.4 million dollars. We have looked at vacant positions, and we will continue to look at vacant positions, and feel like we can comfortably get approximately $2 million.”

Stinson said her financial group has also considered a freeze on temporary employment, saving roughly $1.5 million. A reduction in fringe benefits could save some $568,000. Some of the fringe benefits, Stinson said, include cell phone stipends for certain university employees and scholarships to employees seeking learning opportunities outside Tennessee.

President Phil Oldham said the university will not increase its fees and tuition for returning students.

Stinson said Tech’s executive group will explore ways to get the budget balanced as it watches enrollment closely. The budget is based on an increase of 122 freshmen and 64 additional returning students. Tech is projecting that international student enrollment will decline, the budget drops that number by 113.

Oldham said fall enrollment trends are positive, despite the unknowns of COVID-19.

A review of programs and activities will also be part of the analysis. Stinson said the budget includes both permanent and short-term cuts. She said that breakdown is because of the number of unknowns that remain in this year’s revenue projections.

“Those are positions that we can manage and freeze those positions,” Stinson said. “That’s going to put some stress on some areas, in all honesty. That is why we decided to put those in a category of shorter-term.”

If revenues come back better than expected, Stinson said items considered short-term would be given priority to be reinstated into the budget at a later date.

The Tennessee Tech budget for the fiscal year stands at $165 million.

The legislature cut another $500 million from the state budget last week because of lost revenues. All state pay raises were eliminated.


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