By: Taylor Fulkerson
After a wave of position cuts at the end of the summer, there have been murmurings of another wave of budget and possibly position cuts this semester. University administration, however, contends that amidst financial burdens, the university is maintaining its fiscal health and stability.
“Going forward, we will continue to be guided by our values, mission, vision and plans,” Senior Vice President and Chief Financial Officer Beth Amyot said via email. “The plans show a path for improvement. In the meantime, if we encounter budgetary shortfalls, we will continue to make reasoned decisions and disciplined adjustments for Xavier.”
These plans consist of a new strategic vision called “The Xavier Way,” approved by the Board of Trustees on May 3. The document outlines the vision, mission and values of the university.
Amyot also addressed rumors of more position cuts.
“The possibility of more budget cuts and position cuts always exists,” Amyot said. This semester “we do not foresee additional waves of position reductions as occurred in the summer of 2013.”
Possible cuts are situated into a larger discussion of next year’s operating budget, which is in the works. “The academic and financial plans have a seven-year planning horizon,” Amyot said. “Our current financial pressures are primarily attributable to our net tuition revenues being flat for the past few years when they had been projected to increase.”
Amyot noted that despite a large first-year class this year, total enrollment has been relatively flat due to the size of last year’s graduating class, which was previously the largest class Xavier had. Consequently, the university has “aggressively managed and reallocated costs to avoid deficit spending.”
This year, flat revenues maintained the budget instead of decreasing it, as in the case of last year. The savings made possible by maintaining last year’s reduced budgets have been reassigned for future needs to account for “faculty positions in growing academic areas, new majors and minors, increased financial aid, funding for Alter Hall renovation, uncontrollable inflationary requirements and more,” Amyot said.
Amyot also noted that Xavier has maintained a robust financial health. Xavier’s credit-worthiness is rated by three national independent rating agencies — Fitch, Moody’s and Standard and Poors — and has maintained an A rating from all three.
“For the past few years the U.S. higher education environment has been particularly challenging,” Amyot said. “In the face of limited resources, we strive to make the best decisions from among the choices we have so that our resources are used in the best interests of the university, our students, faculty and staff.”
“Students are at the heart of all we do. Starting with our educational mission statement and the Xavier Way vision that guide our actions and decisions, Xavier’s focus is clearly on the men and women of Xavier.”