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Budget Recommendation Committee recap

The agenda included updates on enrollment, student-employee compensation, the fiscal 2021 budget and more.

By Lindsey Coulter

September 28, 2020

MSU Denver signMetropolitan State University of Denver’s Friday Budget Recommendation Committee meeting included presentations on enrollment, current and future budget outlooks, changes to student-employee compensation and more.

Enrollment update

Michael Nguyen, director of enrollment-management systems and operations, provided a comprehensive look at fall 2020 and spring 2021 enrollment numbers. Among the key data, the total head count for this fall is down 6.2% and full-year FTE students are down 7.3% when compared with fall 2019. Additionally:

  • Full-time enrollment dropped from 64.7% in fall 2019 to 62.8% in fall 2020.
  • Part-time enrollment increased from 35.3% in fall 2019 to 37.2% in fall 2020.
  • Fall 2020 students are registered for 11.27 credit hours on average, down slightly from 11.42 in fall 2019.
  • New students are down 14.6% from fall 2019 at 4,165.
  • The percentage of students of color increased from 46.1% in fall 2019 to 48.4% in fall 2020.
  • The percentage of Hispanic and Latina/o students increased from 29.9% in fall 2019 to 31.7% in fall 2020.
  • The percentage of first-generation-to-college students, as determined by FAFSA or application, increased from 55.9% in fall 2019 to 56.9% in fall 2020.
  • Continuing and readmitted students increased from 69.99% in fall 2019 to 70.71% in fall 2020.
  • Retention rates for new high school students dropped from 55.11% in 2019 to 48.92% in fall 2020.
  • Total fall applications were down 9.7% for fall 2020; however, accepted numbers were up 10.79%. Registered students were down 9.82%.
  • Spring 2021 applications are down 12.22%; accepted students are down 8.43%.

Compensation update

As shared in previous budget updates, minimum wage will increase from $12 per hour to $12.85 per hour for 350 student-employees as of Sept. 1, to be reflected in the October paycheck. Students will also receive back pay at the new rate from last Jan. 1, also reflected in October paychecks. Back pay will be provided by reserve funds; forward pay will come out of departmental budgets.

“This decision brings the University in line with the City and County of Denver and really highlights the value that our student employees provide,” said Stacy Dvergsdal, associate vice president, Human Resources.

Regarding state-announced furloughs, faculty and professional staff members will not be required to take additional furlough days. The impact to Classified employees is still being determined, and the University’s Human Resources and legal teams are meeting with the Colorado Office of the Attorney General to get more information. Please stay tuned to the Early Bird for more details as they are available.

Fiscal 2021 budget update

Overall, the University’s FY21 budget outlook is a little better than expected. As of the BRC meeting, instead of an anticipated loss of $5.4 million, the estimate has been updated to a $5.1 million loss. Overall, the projected shortfall, after the University made initial budget reductions, has decreased from approximately $2.8 million to approximately $2.5 million.

However, it is still too early to determine spring 2020 numbers as Colorado Opportunity Fund revenue (which this year was reduced from $94/credit hour to $40/credit hour), furlough savings and spring 2021 enrollment cannot yet be determined. COF reconciliation is completed at the end of each semester, and the target date for total furlough-savings reconciliation is Oct. 16. Additionally, spring enrollment is historically 91% of fall enrollment, but the ongoing impacts of COVID-19 could still affect students’ enrollment decisions. Updates will be provided at the next BRC meeting.

Schedules and reporting: Phase I budget report

The meeting also included an overview of MSU Denver’s regular two-phase budget cycle. This year, the BRC is considering a potential Phase III budget for FY21 and, in anticipation of another challenging fiscal situation, will engage in scenario planning for FY22.

The uncertain budget environment has also prompted the BRC to create reports that are more meaningful, accessible, consistent and easy to digest, and to improve information provided on the Budget Office website.

The BRC also aims to increase transparency to improve decision-making. As such, the Phase I budget report will be available on the website soon. The Phase II budget report, which will be slightly more in depth, will be available in early October. Improvements will also be coming to the Budget Office website to include information on the budget process, common budget terms, reports and staffing patterns.

By the group’s October meeting, the Phase II budget should be reconciled, and preliminary spring 2021 estimates could be available. The Nov. 6 meeting will include an update on spring 2021 initial enrollment and revenue, while the Nov. 20 meeting will include discussions on a potential Phase III budget. The Dec. 4 meeting will focus on scenario planning for FY22. Meeting dates for 2021 will be available soon.

The Budget Office team is also available to give presentations directly to departments to increase understanding of and engagement with the budget process.

Fiscal 2020-21 budget report

The Budget Office presented the FY20-21 Budget Report. The report outlines the University’s operating budget, which is composed of the Education and General Fund and the Auxiliary Fund. Phase I does not include furloughs or executive-pay reductions, which will instead be included in Phase II.

There has been an approximately 3% reduction to the Education and General Fund portion of the operating budget and a 2.6% reduction across the Auxiliary Fund, which comprises nearly 200 funding sources. The University’s total operating budget is $233 million, a decrease of $3.2 million from the previous fiscal year.

Topics: Funding, Inclusive leadership

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