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YSU faculty analysis identifies budget alternatives

Published: Sun, June 8, 2014 @ 12:08 a.m.

Academics lags in funding growth, faculty findings say

By Denise Dick



Youngstown State University spends a higher percentage of its budget on administration, auxiliaries and building operations and maintenance than most other state universities and less on academic instruction, research and academic support, according to a financial analysis prepared by the faculty union.

The analysis obtained by The Vindicator compares YSU with Ohio’s other public universities, excluding Shawnee State and Central State

It compares 2007 and 2013, showing an increase in tuition and fees of 2.9 percent, from 85.8 to 88.6 percent of total operating revenue for YSU.

Instructional and department research, or what’s spent for faculty, has grown less than 1 percent, and academic support has grown 1.7 percent from 2007 to 2013.

Conversely, institutional support, or administration, costs and what’s spent on auxiliaries — athletics, housing, Kilcawley Center, the bookstore — have increased, 2.9 percent and 4.2 percent, respectively, between 2007 and 2013.

Gabriel Palmer-Fernandez, chief negotiator for the YSU-Ohio Education Association, the union representing YSU faculty, confirmed that the report was presented last week to the joint negotiating team, composed of faculty and administration representatives. Neal McNally, interim vice president for finance and administration, and Holly Jacobs, university general counsel, also attended the meeting.

“No one raised any objections as to the facts or projections,” Palmer-Fernandez said.

Ron Cole, university spokesman, hadn’t seen the document.

“We’re not going to bargain this contract in the press,” he said.

The analysis also shows that YSU’s scholarships/fellowships higher than the other institutions in terms of budget percentage.

But its profitability is lower, at only 7.8 percent, compared with the median of 17 percent of the other schools. The profitability was determined in the analysis using EBITDA, earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization.

Included in the union’s analysis is a series of scenarios determining the effect on the university’s income if different strategies are employed:

One scenario uses current values, including a 1 percent increase in enrollment and a 4 percent faculty pay increase and shows that income will still be down by $5.2 million in 2015.

If on the other hand, the university changes its spending to be more in line with what the other universities spend and still using the 1 percent enrollment increase and the 4 percent faculty pay increase, YSU’s income increases to $11.7 million in 2015, the analysis shows.

With a pay freeze and a 6.5 percent enrollment increase with other costs remaining at the current levels, the university would break even in 2015.

If a successful retention program is implemented, generating a 3 percent enrollment increase and the university enacts a $10 per credit hour student athletic fee and the other costs remain at current levels, the university would still be down $3.3 million in 2015.


1NoBS(2759 comments)posted 2 years ago

But, but, but . . . how can this be the fault of the unions??? Union members have long been saying YSU is administration top-heavy. Looks like they have the numbers to prove it. This started when Sweet began bringing his Cleveland buddies in and creating middle-management, do-nothing jobs.

And as for Cole saying YSU doesn't want to bargain in public - the university isn't at all adverse to using the press to their advantage. They just don't like it when the other side does it.

The university will take the axe to entire academic departments, and that will have a negative impact on the academic reputation of its schools. It will do everything EXCEPT what needs to be done - trim the bloated middle-management and administration. And rest assured, the university's problems WILL be made out to be the fault of the unions. Wait and see.

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2Seriouslee(148 comments)posted 2 years ago

It's about time someone started looking into the actual numbers instead of just repeating the BOT bs. The university is full of experts in finance, accounting and budget planning, and the BOT is comprised of political appointees with no experience in higher ed or managing a huge institution, yet everyone accepts all of their preposterous decisions. Benchmarking and studying comparable institutions is standard practice in higher ed and in business, yet YSU administrators are clueless to the practice.

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3Spiderlegs(161 comments)posted 2 years ago

Anyone notice that this section was up to seven comments, most of which disappeared? Makes you wonder who is trying to control comments on this story.

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