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July 11, 2013

Dr. Nick J. BrunoA message to ULM faculty and staff from ULM President Nick J. Bruno

Dear Colleagues,

This is to provide you with some general information regarding our 2014 budget. This year's budget is quite interesting—there are several factors that make it difficult to provide definitive information at this time. Therefore, I would like to take this opportunity to provide you with the information we have currently.

• Our total budget is down from the mid-year amount by $1,101,543.
• Estimates show our mandated costs will increase by approximately $900,000.
• The combined impact of our 2014 resources is a decrease of approximately $2,000,000.

Below are several factors that could further impact our budget this year both positively and negatively. The 2014 budget at this time is $71,678,050. This number is comprised of:

• $14,256,559 from State General Funds
• $10,250,936 from Overcollections Fund
• $1,855,351 from Statutory Dedications
• $45,315,204 Self-Generated (tuition and fees)

The self-generated amount is calculated based upon the number of students that were registered for the 2012-2013 academic year, as if they were enrolled under the tuition and fee rates for the 2013-2014 academic year.

For 2014, the State General Fund dollars have been partially replaced with funds from the Overcollections Fund. This fund's revenue sources vary. These sources include:

• Property Sales
• FEMA Reimbursement
• Lease Payments for Hospitals
• Undesignated Fund Balances
• Tax amnesty collections

The Overcollections Fund is a one-time source that may or may not be available. Depending upon whether or not the funds are collected, the budget may change. At this time, it is impossible to predict whether these projections will occur or what portion of them we can expect. For the purpose of our budgeting, we are assuming all such funds will be collected this fiscal year.

Another factor that we cannot definitively predict at this time is our enrollment. While our freshman class looks to be larger than last year's class, we cannot be certain of the exact status of our returning students. For every 100 additional students, that translates to approximately $600,000 in tuition and fees, making the exact count an important and unpredictable factor. I am optimistic that we will maintain our student population at least equal to last fall and possibly show some growth.

Legislation allowing us the authority to increase tuition for those students who are enrolled in online programs did pass; however, I was informed yesterday by UL System officials that this increase should not be implemented until spring.

As you can see, the 2014 budget will be different from any we have experienced in the past due to the sources and uncertainty of several factors critical to our budget preparation.

We must adapt to ensure ULM is fiscally sound during these uncertain times. For now, we will continue to review the structure of the university to be certain we protect the academic core of our institution. For example, we will soon issue a Request for Proposal to outsource our student health center. The goals are to save money and provide expanded services to our students and entire campus community. Other areas will be explored for similar action.

We must continue to explore creative new programs, collaborations, and concentrations that will attract more students to ULM. We also must strive to improve retention rates, further increasing our enrollment. We will continue to review the viability of all academic offerings.

In closing, I realize the continuing stress these budget issues impose on each of you. However, according to the UL System's analysis of financial strength, ULM's financial condition is not currently at risk despite the recurring costs over the last five years.

I remain optimistic that ULM is moving in the right direction and will continue to be a university that is vital to our state and region. As always, we strive to be a university of choice for students who are seeking an excellent academic experience.

I will keep you posted on our progress and thank you for your commitment to our university and our students.

Sincerely,

Dr. Nick J. Bruno
President