ABOR to Consider Universities' State Budget Requests

ABOR to Consider Universities' State Budget Requests

By Alexis BlueUniversity Communications
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An expansion of Arizona Stadium is one item in the UA's Capital Improvement Plan, which goes before regents for approval this week.
An expansion of Arizona Stadium is one item in the UA's Capital Improvement Plan, which goes before regents for approval this week.

Arizona's three state universities will seek approval of their 2011 state operating budget requests at this week's Arizona Board of Regents meeting, which takes place Thursday and Friday at Northern Arizona University.

The requests from the universities and the ABOR central office total $1.04 billion, 55 percent of which is being requested to fund enrollment growth at the University of Arizona, Arizona State University and NAU.

Approved budget requests will be forwarded to Gov. Jan Brewer and the Legislature on Oct. 1.

The UA's request for $39.7 million, submitted to the regents, states:

"The proposed budget request enables the University of Arizona to increase the number of baccalaureate degrees, (2) to spur economic development through research innovation, (3) to increase productivity by expanding the delivery of our academic programs through partnerships with Community Colleges, and (4) to continue momentum of the Phoenix Biomedical Campus."

Included in the UA's request:

  • $8.6 million ($7 million for the UA main campus and $1.6 million for the Arizona Health Sciences Center for an initiative to support faculty recruitment, hiring and retention. "The Critical Faculty Initiative is the means to keep highly productive faculty and programs in the State as the economic downturn has made Arizona Faculty more subject to raiding by other institutions," the request states.
  • $1.4 million to support a new network of campuses, to be called UA/Community College Partnership Campuses, that would allow students to access certain UA academic programs away from the UA campus, in their hometowns, at a reduced cost. If funded, it could enable the UA to serve an additional 14,000 students across the state, increasing the University's current enrollment of more than 38,000, by 37 percent, according to the request.
  • $12 million to increase the size of faculty in the College of Medicine-Phoenix, which is expected to see its student body increase by 32 percent in 2010.
  • $1.5 million in funding for the College of Pharmacy to launch pharmacogenomics program. The study of how one's genetics affect the body's response to drugs, pharmacogenomics is expected to become an "increasingly critical area of focus for both research and clinical care as ‘personalized medicine' grows in application," the request states.

ASU's state operating budget request totals $72.4 million, while NAU's totals $21.3 million.

The three state universities also were asked to identify "critical issues" in letters to the governor to be included with the formal budget requests, discussing additional funding needs that go beyond formally requested amounts to address significant campus concerns.

The UA has identified the following critical issues:

  • $30 million of additional funding to provide students with the highest quality educational opportunities and to support faculty. (The request did not include specifics on how the money would be used.)
  • $9.1 million to meet increased costs related to utilities, operations and employee benefits.
  • $100.7 million to reinstate eliminated SPEED (Stimulus Plan for Economic and Educational Development) funding.
  • $47 million for building renewal.
  • $75 million to bring faculty and staff salaries to market levels.

The regents also will be asked to approve the three universities' initial all-funds operating budgets for 2010, which include monies from various budget sources, including the state's general fund, tuition dollars and nonstate revenue.

The UA's initial 2009-2010 budget for the main campus totals $497,847,100, of which $274,423,100 is from the state's general fund.

In another item on the board's agenda, the regents will be asked to approve three-year capital improvement plans for the UA, ASU and NAU.

The first year of the UA's 2011-2013 plan outlines three projects, costing $124.9 million, with funding coming from a combination of sources, including state appropriations and debt financing. They are:

  • An expansion of Arizona Stadium that will replace aluminum bleachers in the north end zone with 5,000 upgraded seats and add new concessions, restrooms and a new scoreboard, among other improvements.
  • A 1.1-mile segment of Tucson's 3.9-mile modern streetcar system will be constructed on campus. It will run from Helen Street and Campbell Avenue through the Warren Avenue underpass and along Second Street to Park Avenue.
  • A University warehouse located at 22nd Street and Kino Boulevard will need to be relocated due to the city of Tucson's widening of 22nd Street.

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