Northwest Missouri State University’s Board of Regents, during its regular meeting June 23, approved the university’s 2017-2018 budget totaling about $117.5 million.

University staff emphasized Northwest’s focus on balancing the budget with an eye on ensuring access, affordability and quality as well as overall student success.

The budget reflects a 6.6 percent decrease in state appropriations and a 2.1 percent tuition increase for undergraduate students that the Regents approved in March. In general, higher education is currently being funded by student tuition and fees, 67.5 percent, with state appropriations only amounting to 33.3 percent.

“These are the challenges that as we go to the budget and in trying to keep our strategic focus ahead of us, as well as our leaders across campus are facing,” Northwest Vice President of Finance Stacy Carrick said.

The budget also includes new discipline-specific course fees and increased room and board rates.

In her presentation to the Regents, Carrick said a primary goal of the university’s annual budget is to compile and align multi-year objectives, as well as initiatives of its campus master plan and Forever Green campaign that are focused on growing revenues and gaining operational efficiencies into an overall financial plan.

The Education and General Budget, $92,423,218, plans for decreased revenues of $3 million. This is partly due to a decline in the number of international students and partly because personnel costs were lower because of the voluntary retirement program. The Auxiliary Services Budget, $25,118,288, income produced by the enrollment except tuition, was reduced by $3 million. The expense side of this budget saw proposed declines in staff costs and the physical plant.

“As our institution and the higher education industry faces financial challenges – along with the current uncertain environment – effective oversight, leadership and stewardship require us to find ways to selectively let go of the past, optimize for today and build for the future,” Carrick said.

Among other agenda items, the Regents approved a three-year memorandum of agreement with Metropolitan Community College (MCC) to implement a concurrent enrollment program as part of FastTracks, a state-approved pilot program. Northwest and MCC announced the program last spring to provide students with an opportunity to complete both an associate of arts and a bachelor of science degree in four years or less while removing challenges that add time and cost to degree completion.

The Regents approved an external grant support services policy to support the university’s emphasis on securing external grants to fund new initiatives, faculty research and general operations. The policy establishes guidelines and defines grants-related actions and processes across the campus.

The Regents also approved the appointments of 231 full-time faculty and 64 adjunct faculty for the 2017-18 academic year as well as revisions to the upcoming year’s academic calendar. Reports were given from the staff council, faculty senate and President Dr. John Jasinski.

Additionally, the Regents approved the renewal of an agreement between Northwest and the Northwest Foundation, which oversees and manages private donations in support of the university. The agreement noted an additional staff member and the three units within the foundation, advancement, development and alumni relations, which reduced their operating budgets by $59,804.

The Regents went into closed session for agenda topics of litigation, real estate dealings and personnel.

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