UMD Plans for Leaner Administration, Less Centralized Budget

By KBJR News 1

February 19, 2013 Updated Feb 19, 2013 at 6:04 PM CST

Duluth, MN (NNCNOW.com)-- Declining enrollment at the University of Minnesota-Duluth is forcing change in the school's budget.

With credit rates high, enrollment down, and with 80% of funding coming from tuition dollars, University officials are attempting to rebound.

UMD saw a significant drop in enrollment in 2013.

A drop of 224 freshman and 33 transfer students. That decline cost the school $2.4 million.

"We are facing a unique set of budget challenges that are linked to a drop in enrollment and to the effects of many years of loss of state funding," announced Chancellor Lendley Black.

In a room packed with UMD faculty and staff, Chancellor Black called for budgetary change by giving more power to individual colleges and departments.

"We're holding more money centrally," said Black. "We're pushing the money out into the colleges, the departments and the other units on campus."

The school is also calling for a leaner administration by reallocating over one million dollars to scholarly priorities.

"We are leaving instruction harmless in the exercise," said Mike Seymour, Vice Chancellor of Finance and Operations.

But, the big issue, the hindrance dragging UMD into a budget mess, is its inability to compete, and keep enrollment up.

"We need to go to high schools and we need to go to two and four year colleges and tell them UMD is a great place," said UMD Professor Michael Mullins.

A recruiting change is needed to tell, what UMD professors and staff say is a success story of the University of Minnesota-Duluth.

Governor Dayton has announced his plan to allocate millions of dollars for higher education.

But UMD officials are expecting, with the state's budgetary shortfall, that funding will stay stagnant for fiscal year 2014.

Zach Vavricka

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