Carol Christ teases budget, plans to halve $110M deficit

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Incoming Chancellor Carol Christ has completed her budget decisions for the fiscal year 2017-18 — decisions that must cut the campus’s $110 million budget deficit by nearly half.

The UC Office of the President stipulated for campus to reduce the deficit by about $53 million for this fiscal year, bringing the deficit to $57 million, according to a statement by Christ released Tuesday.

The deficit is projected to be completely eliminated by 2020. To meet such extensive reductions, Christ has emphasized a campuswide investment in “revenue generating activities.”

Revenue was originally targeted to meet half of all required deficit reductions. “Revenue generating activities” have since exceeded the deficit reduction target by 2 percent.

This is the good news,” Christ said in the statement. “We will continue to seek ways to increase revenues to offset the need to make cuts.”

Christ added, however, that the cuts “are nonetheless painful.”

To the extent that divisions do not meet targets, workforce decisions — attrition and layoffs — will be made by divisional leadership.

The main sources of increased revenue are UC Berkeley Extension, Summer Sessions, self-supporting degree programs and philanthropy, Christ said in a sit-down with The Daily Californian. In addition, there has been a renewed effort to monetize campus-owned real estate, increase entrepreneurial activity and produce contracts and grants.

In completing the budget, Christ first sent divisions — including schools, colleges and administrative units — letters announcing the expense cuts. A frequently asked questions page regarding the budget process has been posted on the campus website. Official budget expenses will be posted on a presently undisclosed date.

All scholarships and fellowships, programs funded with student fees and all instructional salaries and utilities were excluded from the cuts, according to the statement. Student Health Insurance Program and the sexual harassment prevention program were also excluded.

Division cut targets were not made straight across the board; instead, the targets are “highly differentiated,” Christ said.

Instructional divisions are charged with cutting about 1 percent of cost, though many instructional divisions will meet targets entirely through revenue activities, according to Christ. In the past fiscal year, the number of full-time equivalent employees has dropped by about 450.

Administrative, research and service-division cut targets are between 4 and 5 percent.

The budget is part of a larger five-year plan. Reduction targets for fiscal year 2016-17 were $40 million, which was primarily achieved through cost reductions, not revenue increases.

Assumed in the budget is a 2.5 percent growth of in-state tuition each year and a total growth of nonresident supplemental tuition by 5 percent — while maintaining the nonresident enrollment cap at 24 percent.

State support is projected to increase by 4 percent up until fiscal year 2018-19, dropping down to a 3 to 3.5 percent increase thereafter.

“By June 30, 2020, we have to have eliminated our deficit and we will — we’re on course for it,” Christ said to the Daily Cal. “I have absolutely no question that we’ll be able to get there.”

Audrey McNamara is the executive news editor. Contact her at [email protected] and follow her on Twitter at @McNamaraAud.