Albertson College Secures Financial Health with Approval of 2003-2004 Budget
2003. 06. 03.
CALDWELL, ID The Albertson College Board of Trustees on Friday approved a 2003-2004 budget that reduces the college's expenditures to a sustainable level and puts the college onto secure financial ground. The approved budget, at $15.1 million, is intended to streamline the college's functions, yet preserve the core academic integrity of the 112-year-old college.
The approved 2003-2004 budget is approximately $6 million - 32 percent - less than the 2001-2002 budget, and $4 million less than the 2002-2003 budget. The current cuts, 60 percent of which came from administrative overhead, were made in an effort to not impact students' educational experience and to remain true to the college's mission of providing an outstanding liberal arts education.
'This has been an extremely difficult process that has brought together faculty, staff and students,' said Albertson College President Kevin Learned. 'But we're in excellent fiscal condition, we have more than $9 million in cash reserves, and we're ready to move forward,'
Key elements of the revised budget include:
A reduction in force impacting 14 employees. These employees will receive a severance package, and the college will provide career counseling and employment seminars throughout the week. In the last year the college has reduced 55 full-time equivalent positions through involuntary and voluntary employee separations. Senior administration has been reduced from 11 positions to six positions.
Contracts of several visiting faculty will not be renewed, but there were no reductions of permanent faculty.
Freshmen students will be given a break on their tuition so they may bring their own computer to the college, rather than receiving a laptop from the college. This will allow for students to have more flexibility on the make and model of computer they use. The college will still support its technology initiatives, including maintaining a wireless campus, electronic classrooms and computer labs.
Depending on final fall 2003 enrollment, the college will likely temporarily close a residence hall. Other staff and faculty offices will be moved and consolidated to save on utility costs.
Employee benefits will be revamped, and employees will pay a larger share of their benefits. The employee 403b match will be temporarily suspended.
'I believe the college considers this an opportunity to focus on our programs, see what we do best, and do it as efficiently as possible,' Learned said.
The college, a private, not-for-profit organization, relies on its income from tuition, donations and draws from its endowment. Like many other national liberal arts colleges, Albertson is suffering an unprecedented reversal of nearly three decades of steady growth in its endowment.
The market decline and economic conditions of the last few years has also slowed total donations received by the college. It is encouraging to note, however, that the college has seen a 120 percent increase in giving in its annual fund and athletic fundraising increased 155 percent from last year (with a month still left in the fiscal year).
'It has been a tough year but we can now move forward as a college community and implement the approved budget which will stabilize the economic well-being of the college while keeping the mission of providing an excellent liberal arts education for our students,' said Peter O'Neill, chairman of the Board of Trustees. 'We are indeed fortunate to have the resources of a strong financial foundation, strong support from the community, an excellent physical facility all combined with a very talented and dedicated faculty and staff who will ensure the ongoing success of the institution.'
The college net assets, including endowment and physical plant, are $71.4 million. Last year the college saw the highest enrollment in the school's history at 824 students and is eyeing a population of 1,000 in the future.
For more information, contact Eric Cardenas, director of communication, at 459-5811.