RSU Reduces Current Budget By One Percent

Rogers State University has reduced its current fiscal year budget by just over 1 percent, according to a mandate by the Oklahoma State Regents for Higher Education.

However, the impact of the budget reduction will not significantly effect the university’s instructional mission, according to RSU President Joe Wiley.

Earlier this month, the state regents instructed all regional universities in the state to reduce their budgets by 1.06 percent by Jan. 31 to accommodate declining state revenues.

The total amount of the reduction at RSU is $133,882, which has been spread out over several budget areas including capital improvements, executive management and utilities, which have been lower this year due to mild winter weather.

The impact of the reduction on RSU is relatively small because the university routinely adheres to conservative budget practices, Wiley said.

“Although a budget reduction is never positive news, our budget is in good shape,” Wiley said. “As a rule, we always structure our budget in such a way that it can withstand adjustments in the event of declining state revenues.”

He emphasized that the reduction will have little to no impact on RSU’s instructional mission.

“Our primary goal in meeting the state-mandated budget reduction was to protect the integrity of all instructional programs,” Wiley said. “As a result, the reduction will not effect the quality of instruction in the classroom in any way.”

RSU will not eliminate any positions or reduce any salaries to meet the budget reductions, Wiley added.

Although this year’s reductions will not have a large impact, Wiley cautioned that a stagnant or decreased budget in the next fiscal year would effect RSU’s ability to enhance its academic offerings and hire more doctorally qualified faculty members.

“Since 1999, all increases in state funding at the university have been devoted to the creation of new bachelor’s degree programs and the hiring of Ph.D. faculty,” Wiley said. “If these increases do not continue, we will not be able to offer more bachelor’s degrees or hire more faculty members to enhance our academic mission.”

The new fiscal year begins on July 1 and lawmakers will decide on next year’s budget for education in the legislative session that begins on Feb. 1.