University of Northern Colorado OKs budget for fiscal year 2023


The University of Northern Colorado’s board of trustees on Friday approved a budget with an operating deficit of $8.9 million for fiscal year 2023, a reality that university officials attributed to the decline student registrations for the fall.

The board passed the budget — with total expenses of $195.2 million and operating revenue of $186.3 million — in a lengthy on-campus meeting covering a wide range of topics.

Within the operating deficit, there is a 6.2% decline in net tuition and tuition revenue due to a 10% decline in undergraduate student enrollment and a nearly 2.0% decline in graduate student enrollment, according to academic documentation of the meeting.

The board’s finance and audit committee received an outline of the draft budget last month during an on-campus meeting.

During this session, UNC announced that it expects a 10% drop in undergraduate enrollment this fall to 6,650 students from 7,357 students a year ago.

The budget approved on Friday also includes:

  • 2% increase for undergraduate resident tuition to $8,289. The university’s projected cost of $10,904 for full-time undergraduate tuition and fees is based on a student who is not eligible for any aid or assistance.
  • 3% increase for non-resident undergraduate tuition fees
  • 2% Graduate Tuition Increase
  • 3% increase in tuition fees
  • 5% increase in room rates and 7% in board rates.

Tuition increases for resident undergraduates, tuition increases for non-resident undergraduates, and a 3% tuition increase for undergraduates partially offset the decline in enrollment and resulted in a 7.9% decrease in budgeted net tuition and fee revenue compared to the FY2022 forecast.

As predicted last month, UNC will end the current fiscal year on June 30 with a cash balance of more than $77.2 million, its highest year-end cash balance in a decade. The cash includes $15 million set aside from federal stimulus funding and oil and gas royalties to support the normalization of operations and investments in fiscal years 2023 and 2024.

UNC will receive more than expected in state funding for the coming fiscal year. UNC President Andy Feinstein and other higher education executives lobbied Governor Jared Polis for additional funding for the governor’s original proposal.

UNC will receive an additional $5.3 million from the state for a total of $57 million. The university also obtained state funding for $6.3 million in capital construction assistance and deferred maintenance. More than $4 million of this funding ($4.6 million) will go to hall mechanical and fire systems at Gray Hall.

The university said its budget this year will be $6.8 million more in personnel spending than the FY22 forecast, including the following:

  • $1.5 million for the annualization of the FY22 mid-year compensation increase
  • $3.8 million to create a 3% pool for FY23 pay increases for faculty and staff
  • $4.8 million transferred to non-personnel expenses with the impact of Sodexo
  • Net savings of $4.9 million on vacancies.

In addition to budget matters, at the meeting, the board and university officials also:

Heard by Vice President of Student Affairs Cedric Howard on a strategic enrollment management plan process for this fall and beyond. Howard’s presentation defined strategic enrollment management as “a comprehensive process that helps institutions determine, achieve, and maintain their optimal recruitment, retention, persistence, and graduation rates, where “optimal” is defined in the academic context of the institution”.

Howard said one of the main reasons for strategic enrollment management is to establish clear goals for the number and types of students needed to fulfill UNC’s mission.

“How we talk about ourselves will be different over the next 6, 12, 18 and 24 months,” Howard said. “We are getting ready to see each other in a different way.”

Received a report from Denver public relations and communications firm Lucas Narratives with the results of a university branding survey. Lucas Narratives was founded by UNC graduate Cathy Lucas.

The investigation reached four key findings: UNC’s brand identity is confusing; its brand is in hibernation — tell the story; the university has esteem issues among its biggest champions (don’t apologize for what UNC and Greeley offer; brag about students and faculty; and focus on what UNC does well); UNC employees are a key brand asset (this includes introducing expert faculty to local and national media).

University of Northern Colorado President Andy Feinstein, center, reads chalked messages written by attendees during a rally April 8, 2022 to protest the cuts to faculties and programs announced during of the spring semester near the UNC founding gates in Greeley. The rally, organized by the group Bears Who Care and Friends of Bears, came in response to cuts to the Department of World Languages ​​and Cultures within the College of Humanities and Social Sciences. The crowd, which numbered in the 50s at times, listened to speakers — both concerned students and faculty and those a step away but supportive — and wrote messages on signs and on the sidewalk for Feinstein, who came to speak with students, teachers and others at the event. (Alex McIntyre/staff photographer)

Public comment accepted from three members of the UNC community, who addressed the non-renewal of teaching positions and the announcement of the closure of programs at the College of Humanities and Social Sciences including French and German.

The trio were the founders of a grassroots group leading the effort to protest these actions taken with a lack of transparency and communication: Don Perl earned his master’s degree at UNC and taught in the Department of Hispanic Studies for 16 years old ; Trish Jolly has a bachelor’s degree from UNC and was among the renewable contract positions not renewed beyond the fall semester; and Neal Jeppeson, a May graduate of UNC whose European languages ​​and cultures major is among those to be phased out of the world languages ​​and cultures department.

“The cuts were made unfairly and to the extreme,” Jeppeson told the board.

Jolly said she hopes the university will consider shelving plans to eliminate contract-renewable teaching roles and sunsetting language programs until she has more information. In his remarks, Jolly emphasized the importance of liberal arts courses as fundamental access for students across the university, in all majors.

Perl asked the board of trustees and university leaders present at the meeting to examine UNC’s core values, and he said the classes and programs to be eliminated instead offered light for students.

“Let this be an opportunity to further strengthen our reputation as an inspiring university, true to the
concept of “universal,” said Perl.

UNC Professor Fritz Fischer, chairman and director of history teacher education, is the faculty trustee on the council. Following comments from Perl, Jolly and Jeppeson, Fischer said “it’s critical” moving forward so the university doesn’t rely so heavily on data when making future decisions, particularly with regard to staff on renewable contracts. There are other factors to consider.

“The need for small classes, personalization and connection between faculty and students and I encourage that moving forward,” Fischer said.

A piece of information: The establishment of a new Graduate Certificate in Culturally and Linguistically Diverse Education. The board approved the program in 2019. Additional oversight was required by the Colorado Department of Education, and the CDE requested changes to the proposed program. The CDE has granted permission to begin offering the program, and UNC plans to enroll students as early as this fall.

A piece of information: A master’s degree in accounting will be eliminated and replaced by the concentration in accounting analysis within the master’s program in business administration at the Monfort College of Business. The in-person accounting master’s degree has faced declining enrollment over the past five years, part of a national trend according to information from UNC. The in-person program will be replaced with an online concentration.

Approval of a new 9-credit graduate certificate in Brewing Science in the Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry in the College of Natural and Health Sciences. UNC has an undergraduate certificate program in brewing science, which is popular according to background information. The Graduate Certificate is a parallel program offered to students with a 4-year undergraduate degree in Chemistry, Biology, Physics, Mathematics or Geology, or an undergraduate degree and brewing experience commercial.

The certificate will be marketed globally and is expected to attract new students from all over the world, also according to background information.

“The certificate will be of interest to students who want to obtain work in the brewing industry, start their own brewery or brewing laboratory, or pursue an undergraduate education in brewing laboratory science,” UNC documentation said.


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