Indiana University President Michael McRobbie has followed the lead of Governor Mitch Daniels, pledging to freeze the salaries of some of the school’s highest-paid employees. During a presentation to the school’s Board of Trustees, McRobbie proposed that he and three hundred to four hundred university vice presidents go a year without raises, in order to save the school more than $2 million.
University Chief Financial Officer Neil Theobald says he’s not sure how much of the state’s $930 million budget shortfall I.U. will be asked to make up, but says his office has outlined substantial cuts which could be made. “State is doing a ten percent cut in their executive agencies, so it will be a meaningful amount of money,” Theobald says. “And we have contingencies developed up to $25 million, so we know exactly how we’ll respond to anything up to that amount.”
Theobald says one way some of the cash will be made up is by a nearly six percent rise in the average cost of room and board. Most of the increase, he says, is because dorms have to pay their utility bills in full for the first time in the fall.
“Decision was made by the Trustees three years ago that the residence halls are businesses, and so rather than the schools paying their portion of the utility bill, that the residence halls should pay their own utility bill,” Theobald says. “So we’re phasing that in over three years. Total cost of utilities for the dorms is about $7 million, so 2.3 [million], 2.3 and then this is the last piece of that.”
According to numbers provided to the trustees, I.U. has gone from the third-highest residence hall rates among the Big Ten Conference schools a decade ago to fourth from the bottom, at just more than $7,500 a year for students living in dorms. Theobald also says dorm rooms and university-owned apartments are both more than 99 percent full.