UTB Looking at $20 Million in State Funding Cuts


POSTED: Thursday, January 27, 2011 - 4:29pm

UPDATED: Friday, January 28, 2011 - 8:34am

Students will be greatly affected

The proposed funding cuts to UTB will not only affect jobs on campus, it will reduce programs, essential services to students and enrollment rates. The proposed state budget deficit of at least $27 billion has nearly every institution on pins and needles. UTB is now looking at possibly working with $20 million less for the next two years. This possible major cut will affect significant areas on campus.

"All of the divisions have been working for the last two months in developing plans to manage those budget reductions. Those plans include like keeping vacant positions vacant permanently. We’re looking at travel and where people are traveling to. We’re doing more training through webinars now. We are looking at every dollar that we spend and trying to make more efficient use of those resources."

All that can save the university a few million dollars a year but as Vice President of Business Affairs, Rosemary Martinez, tells us, that's still not going to keep the university from cutting costs in the student department. The Texas grant budget reductions are serious and will greatly impact a large number of students.

"We have approximately just under 2,000 students that receive Texas grants and so for those students that are already in the pipeline, they may lose 50% of their allocation but more importantly, there will be no new dollars available for new freshman and we have about just under 700 a year that qualify for Texas grant that will no longer have dollars available to them."

These students that will lose out are students who may not have other means of financial aid and that can possibly mean that they will not be able to seek a higher education after high school.

"We can't afford to not educate those 700 students. It’s important for us to continue to make those educational opportunities available to improve the educational attainment of our community."

The cuts will force the university to eliminate four degree programs and reduce and restrict enrollment in other programs.

But the proposed funding cuts will also affect UTB employees. UTB may be forced to lay off almost 150 faculty and staff, 377 employees may lose health insurance coverage all together. And the reduction could also mean a decrease in services offered to students. For instance, the campus may have to close the library and tutorial labs earlier.

"Its public education, its higher education, its healthcare, its economic development, so it's devastating to an area like ours that historically has been under funded."

The proposed $20 million cut is only a proposal. We won't know the exact amount for another few months.

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