- Associated Press - Friday, June 3, 2016

FAIRBORN, Ohio (AP) - Trustees at Wright State University have approved a plan to raise tuition while cutting expenses and staff after it overspent its budget by $34 million this year.

The plan approved Thursday includes nearly $28 million in cuts over the next two years, including $8 million through staff attrition, and allows the university to pull in $18.9 million from its reserves, the Dayton Daily News reported (https://bit.ly/1srxR7s ). Officials hope to reduce staff numbers by not filling vacant positions.

The university near Dayton will also raise tuition for graduate and out-of-state students by 3 percent. State law bars the university from increasing undergraduate tuition for Ohio students.

Trustees said this was the first time they were told how far over budget the university has gone during the current fiscal year, and they requested more frequent updates next year.

Officials have spent down the university’s reserves from $162 million in 2012 to a projected $40 million by 2018, university Chief Financial Officer Jeff Ulliman said.

Trustees approved a $311 million budget last year and revenues came in at about $304 million, in part because university officials overestimated how well their investments would perform. Expenses increased to $338 million, largely because of the creation of unbudgeted positions and tuition assistance for students.

University President David Hopkins said the university was spending at levels it can’t sustain. He said the budget woes came in part because the state cut its funding by $124 million since 2008.

“We were trying to be entrepreneurial,” Hopkins said. “We were trying to have an impact and get more students to the finish line.”

Rudy Fichtenbaum, an economics professor at Wright State and national president of the American Association of University Professors, criticized administrators for letting athletics overspend its budget.

“If that had happened at any college, the dean would be fired,” he said.


Information from: Dayton Daily News, https://www.daytondailynews.com

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