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FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
What is the “Operating Budget” of the University?
- The University’s Operating Budget is the financial plan where academic, instructional, and administrative support functions are placed. These functions are funded, or paid for, by the revenue the University receives from student undergraduate, graduate, and law instructional fee tuition, state funding, and other revenue sources like miscellaneous student fees. It is the largest of the University’s three budgets at approximately $243 million.
What are the other two University budgets?
- The General Fee Budget and the Auxiliary Business Units’ Budget. The General Fee Budget is funded by student general fees which are a component of a student’s tuition. It is currently $55.40/credit hour. This fee provides the majority of funding for the University’s intercollegiate athletic program, student activities and organizations, the Student Center and Recreation Center. The General Fee Budget totals $23,199,244. The third budget grouping encompasses the University’s self-supporting business units – the bookstore, dining services, residence halls, the Wolstein Center, and parking. The parking operation is currently being considered for a partnership with a private parking consortium. If this partnership comes to fruition by June 2018, then the University will no longer operate the parking operation. The University will receive an up-front payment from the parking consortium in exchange for a long term agreement to operate and maintain our parking facilities, and earn the revenue from parking operations. The combined total budget of the Auxiliary Business Units is $23,553,255.
Will the General Fee Budget and Auxiliary Business Units budgets be part of the work of the structural solutions workgroup?
- Yes, these budgets will be included in the scope of work.
Other universities in Ohio have implemented buy-out plans for faculty and staff. Is Cleveland State considering this as part of its structural solutions exercise?
- All options are on the table. While we received authority from our Board of Trustees two years ago to implement a buy-out plan should it be appropriate, to date the University has not implemented one. As an efficiency measure, we need to determine if the savings benefit to the University outweighs the cost of the plan.
Why is Cleveland State University able to address its structural deficit situation from a position of strength at this time?
- The University has managed its Operating Budget conservatively and when enrollment and/or state funding have declined, we have made the necessary adjustments to our budget. Our financial reserves position is healthy and our credit (bond) ratings are strong (Standard and Poor’s rating of A and Moody’s rating of A1). Since forecasted flat enrollments and tuition freezes are not short-term aberrations that can be weathered in a year or two, it is in our best interest to be proactive in preserving our healthy financial position.
Is the state of Ohio aware of the structural budget deficits that exist for most of Ohio’s four-year public universities?
- Yes. The Governor’s Office and the Ohio Department of Higher Education are aware of the fiscal challenges that face Ohio’s universities and state colleges. The state and its higher education institutions are also concerned about a student’s debt burden after graduation. This concern was the basis for the Governor’s Task Force on Affordability and Efficiency which was launched in 2016. In addition to directing us to take steps to reduce the overall student’s cost of obtaining a degree, the Task Force laid out efficiency objectives for each institution to meet.