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IU President Focuses On Funding Cuts In University Address

IU President Michael McRobbie says state funding for the university has been cut by nearly $100 million.

5:00pm UPDATE

Despite reaching record enrollment numbers and support goals of more than one billion dollars, Indiana University President Michael McRobbie says IU is facing tumultuous times.

For the current budget year, about 18 percent of IU’s funding will come from the state of Indiana, that compares to about 50 percent two decades ago. Couple that with no funding for repair and rehabilitation of buildings, IU President Michael McRobbie says the university is looking at ways to be more efficient.

“We also believe that IU can better manage existing health care spending by partnering with IU Health and other medical providers to enhance the delivery of clinical services to our employees, retirees, graduate students, and their families,” McRobbie said.

He says over the past two years, IU succeeded in reducing the ongoing base budget by $36 million dollars.

CWA Local Vice President Ed Vasquez says the savings is not trickling down to staff pay.

“We are suffering from low pay and administrative bloat so this is the problem we have with the speech,” Vasquez said.

Vasquez says support staff at IUB received raises of 1.5 percent, continuing a trend from the last ten years of not compensating staff with a cost of living increase.

Telecommunications professor Herb Terry says IU should be preparing for major financial changes in more than just state support.

“I have this concern that depending what this Congress of the United States does in December, we could face some major economic challenges, across the board budget cuts come in because we get a lot of federal money,” Terry said.

McRobbie announced that IUPUI’s fundraising campaign has pushed through the one billion dollar mark on its way to the 1 –and-a-quarter billion dollar goal. The campaign is the highest fundraising goal in IU history.

3:00pm UPDATE

Indiana University is facing tough challenges because of state funding cuts. That was the theme of IU President Michael McRobbie’s State of the University address.  The University has seen a 30 percent decrease in state support for IU Bloomington and McRobbie says those costs have been passed on to the students.

“Universities can and must do all they can to ameliorate that transfer by being more efficient, as I have just described,” he said, “but that strategy ultimately has its limits, especially if quality is not to suffer.”

The president said alumni donations have helped keep those costs from spiking. Donation campaigns at IU campuses across the state raised billions of dollars for student financial aid this year, and McRobbie announced that IUPUI’s campaign recently passed the $1 billion mark.

McRobbie touted other programs including IU Health, which will begin a pilot program in Bloomington in January that will provide clinical services to IU employees retirees, graduate students and their families.  He emphasized that IU needs more support in the weak economy to continue these types of programs and provide its students a solid education.

“These are difficult times,” he said. “Much that has been accepted about the world of higher education is under challenge for economic or other reasons. We must strongly defend all that is great about universities that have helped them endure for over a thousand years.”

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