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University faces state budget cuts

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Students walk to and from classes near the staircase that sits in front of Alkek Library.
Photo by Victor Rodriguez | Assistant Multimedia Editor

The budget for the state of Texas received a large cut in the 85th legislative session. This budget cut has affected several universities across the state, including Texas State.

“Our total appropriation from the State of Texas that we can spend for the ongoing operations of the university was cut by about $4.4 million over the biennium,” said President Denise Trauth.

The formal announcement about the new budget came out to staff across campus during the summer.

With the reduction in the amount of money coming into higher education and a deficit in this year’s enrollment, Texas State had to compensate for this lack of income.

The university virtually took the whole budget cut out of the merit pool- bringing it from three percent to one. The merit pool is a group of staff and faculty among all of the departments that are chosen to receive raises. Along with a smaller pool of people, the cuts have also imposed a smaller sum of money being allotted to this group. Typically, these merit raises will go into effect at the beginning of the school year, but now those raises will go into effect in February 2018.

Joan Heath, associate vice president and university librarian, has seen the effect of the budget cuts.

“It’s a disappointment… for staff but I think people recognize what the university is having to cope with,” Heath said.

The Texas School of Safety Center received the greatest blow with a 33 percent budget cut. Some employees of the center had to be fired in order to maintain budgetary quota.

With the merit pool becoming impacted by these cuts, students will not be affected. However, enrollment has been low recently which is why the university is receiving less spending.

Alexander White, head of Faculty Senate and associate professor in the mathematics department, noticed that this drop in enrollment is impacting just as much as the state legislator cuts.

“The enrollment outlook for next year is going to be a little bit complicated,” White said. “The number of students that could transfer from a community college to Texas State is shrinking.”

White noted that though the university has found extreme success in graduating many students, the class size of seniors is not increasing.

The next budget will begin next spring. Enrollment is expected to be flat for the upcoming year, although a budget is built before official enrollment is proclaimed on Sept. 1.

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