ASU responds to state budget deal
Statement by ASU President Michael Crow
The revised Fiscal Year 2009 budget passed by the state legislature has singled out the state’s universities for the largest cuts. It deals a devastating blow to ASU, U of A, and NAU, to all our students, to every citizen in this state who wants to see a child or grandchild have a quality university education.
While some have described these cuts as small, they have, in fact, set in motion a Force 4 financial hurricane whose destructive force has not yet begun to be felt. Our nation is fighting two wars it cannot afford to lose – one against terrorism and a second against an economic recession so deep it may take several years or more to overcome.
At the very time our nation is calling its universities to action in this most important of economic battles, Arizona has gone in the opposite direction, the equivalent of grounding the state’s economic air force in the hope that we can fight a high-tech economic war on horseback.
Since June 2008 the reduction of state investment in ASU has been $88 million or 18 percent of the university’s base state funding in a single fiscal year.
ASU’s per-student funding from the state general fund has now been reduced to what it was 10 years ago:
• $7,976 in 2008
• $6,476 in 1998
• $6,500 for 2009
This amounts to having more than 30,000 of our 67,000 students with no state investment whatsoever.
Consider also what we have already done to meet these cuts:
• More than 550 staff positions eliminated, including four deans positions and at least two dozen academic department chair positions
• More than 200 faculty associate positions eliminated
• Ten- to 15-day furloughs for all employees, including the entire senior administration, deans, varsity coaches and faculty.
• The consolidation of nearly a half dozen schools and of almost two dozen academic departments.
• A reduction in the number of nursing students the university can admit
• A wide variety of cost-saving measures from the reduction of purchases, to energy conservation to a hiring freeze.
To respond to this new budget we still need another $13-15 million in cuts to take. That could mean eliminating another 1,000 jobs, closing a campus, restricting enrollment next fall and increasing tuition and fees.
As bad as all this is, we must all understand that the state’s budget challenges do not end with the Fiscal Year 2009 budget. Another large deficit looms for Fiscal Year 2010. But we don’t have to repeat the devastation of the 2009 budget.
With the availability of federal economic stimulus funds and other revenue enhancements available to the state and to the university, the 2010 budget does not have to add more severe cuts on top of the ones taken this year.
ASU has contributed four of our leading economists and public policy experts to a group being assembled by the Arizona Board of Regents from all three universities to work on recommendations for the FY10 budget.