The state budget for the fiscal year beginning July 1 is officially set. While we all wish the budget did not include deep cuts to higher education, we can appreciate the hard work that has gone into the creation of a budget in the most economically challenging era since the Depression.
I am sure you have heard the budget cut numbers that have been the subject of news stories and budget negotiations. The reality is that although the budget has been passed, there is work to be done before we know the full impact.
The Board of Governors will meet soon to allocate budget reductions across the UNC campuses. Once the BOG has acted, we will work quickly to develop the specific details of the budget allocation to the university for 2011-12.
While we don’t yet know the full details, it is clear that the budget presents challenges for the universities that have helped to strengthen North Carolina’s national reputation and drive the state’s economy. NC State in particular supports economic development not only by educating a highly skilled workforce but also through partnerships and innovations that fuel job growth.
In the last year more than 67,000 people came to NC State for an education, workforce training or job certification. Through our working relationships with 231 of the state’s manufacturing firms, more than 2,000 jobs were created or saved. Those are just two examples of how our work is vital to the state and why NC State University must remain a healthy, dynamic institution.
With the help of faculty, staff and students who have participated in our strategic plan and realignment processes, we have positioned ourselves to protect our academic core to the extent possible. We also have begun the hard work of making needed fundamental changes in the way we operate the university. Those efforts coupled with the budget planning done to date will help us make the best decisions possible for the campus.
You have worked hard on behalf of NC State. No one wants to take another round of deep budget reductions. But we are in better shape to meet these budget challenges because of your work.
I know you have many questions about jobs, class availability, research dollars, tuition, financial aid and any number of additional topics. I will provide an update later next month as the details are worked out.
As I said in the fall when we began this discussion, difficult decisions are ahead of us; there are no easy answers. I appreciate your patience and understanding.