FY'15 Budget Update [1/31/14]
January 31, 2014
Dear WIU Campus Community,
Welcome back to the University for the Spring 2014 semester. I hope that each of you will continue to make great things happen at WIU.
I am pleased to report that we are seeing increases in our retention rates. The fall-to-spring retention rate for freshmen has improved from 82 percent last year to 91 percent this year. This is an amazing 9 percent increase in one year. It is the culmination of many efforts that have led to the increase in freshmen retention which include the revised First Year Experience program with the required University 100 class, the Building Connections mentorship program, a higher academic student profile, and many other efforts in advising, in our student services area, and in the classroom.
While our retention is showing signs of improvement, the budget situation remains the same as recent months. The state of Illinois owes the University approximately $29.2 million in appropriations and $5.9 million in MAP funds for Fiscal Year 2014. We continue to be conservative in our spending and our approach to expense management. Now that we have our official University enrollment for the spring semester, we have released the remaining 25 percent of departments' operating budgets. We must continue to use discretion as we spend institutional resources.
On Jan. 23, we presented to the campus the Fiscal Year 2015 budget outlook, which included nearly $2 million in scheduled budget reductions. These reductions are necessary to ensure that we are being financially responsible, and we continue to meet our payroll and other obligations. FAQs related to the budget presentations are available at wiu.edu/budget.
The University reached a new three-year agreement with University Professionals of Illinois (UPI) which resulted in a scheduled 2 percent pay increase for FY15. We appreciate the leadership of UPI during these challenging times in higher education.
To limit the effect on those employees who are retiring in Fiscal Year 2015, the University will provide a retirement option for non-negotiated individuals who sign an irrevocable retirement agreement by May 31, 2014. Additional details will be distributed soon regarding this retirement option.
Our students are at the heart of our University, and our employees are the strength of our campuses. If we remain committed to the quality of our academic programs and focus on all aspects of student success, then improvements in retention and other areas will continue to follow. We must remain focused on our priorities to move the University forward. Our budget challenges will continue for some time. Therefore, we must work together to help our institution accomplish even greater things.
Thank you for your continued commitment to Western Illinois University.
Jack Thomas, Ph.D.