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Budget Recommendation Committee recap

Compensation subcommittee updates; Phase 1 planning comes to a close; Phase 2 timeline for finalizing budget outlined.

By Cory Phare

April 26, 2021

MSU Denver signGeorge Middlemist, Ph.D., associate vice president for Administration/CFO, kicked off Friday’s meeting of the Metropolitan State University of Denver Budget Recommendation Committee with an update from the compensation subcommittee.

The group discussed planning for possible 2% to 4% salary increases for faculty and professional staff contingent on different enrollment scenarios for fall. The subcommittee also discussed contingency planning for an updated faculty compensation model (e.g., adhering to College and University Professional Association averages) as this likely won’t be completed this fiscal year. Also discussed was the state recently approving a 3% increase affecting Classified employees.

Middlemist said expenditures for the 75-80 MSU Denver Classified staff members, funding for promotion and tenure of faculty and minimum-wage increases largely impacting student employees are considered mandatory. This led to an update of the Phase 1 planning process coming to an end.

“Compensation is one of the biggest components of Phase 1, but it’s important to note our recommendations aren’t final here,” added Cipriana Patterson, budget director with MSU Denver’s Office of Budget. “What we’re doing is scenario planning; think of it as the ‘edge pieces of the puzzle’ as the framework to build everything in.”

Phase 1 votes resulted in a recommendation to hold tuition flat for the upcoming academic year and continue with the planned closing of the tuition-discount window.

Proposed 2% and 5% increases in the student-affairs and health-and-wellness fees, respectively, were also necessary to address the increased demand experienced in the past year, he added.

Middlemist then provided an overview of the Phase 2 planning timeline, advancing proposals to the senior-leadership, presidential and eventual Board of Trustees level. With a close eye on enrollment trends, the BRC and subcommittees will have a clearer picture of available revenues for faculty/staff employee compensation and operating expenses from base-budget and one-time allocations.

Additional funding from the Higher Education Emergency Relief acts – Round Two and an anticipated Round Three (with dollar amounts to come, hopefully, by the end of May) – will also factor into budgetary priority-setting.

The BRC will begin meeting aggressively in May through July to structure expenditures based on a clearer enrollment picture, Middlemist said, with the goal of providing a decision memo to President Janine Davidson, Ph.D., by July 2, factoring in HEER fund specifics by the end of July and routing to the Board of Trustees in early August for final approval in September.

Topics: Compensation

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