By Kaylee Lindenmuth
President Kenneth Hawkinson, in his State of the University address on Aug. 23, said KU is entering the 2019-20 school year with a balanced budget for the second consecutive year,
Hawkinson delivered the annual address during the Faculty and Staff Convocation, outlining the progress of various university initiatives and efforts to solve issues.
“As many of you know, we were able to balance our budget in 2018-19 for the first time in eight years,” Hawkinson told the crowd. “However, budgets and actual results can vary, and we did recently close the books for last year with a small deficit, as our actual expenses exceeded our actual revenues by about one percent.”
This year, Hawkinson said, after “tremendous strides in rightsizing…annual expenses,” the university currently has a balanced operating budget for 2019-20.
“We don’t plan to use any cash reserves,” Hawkinson said, adding that the balanced budget didn’t come easily.
Hawkinson explained revenues fell by about $2.7 million as a result of a variety of factors—projected losses in enrollment and the PASSHE-wide tuition freeze, among others—and costs related to salaries and benefits went up by about $1.8 million. Forty-four vacant staff positions were eliminated among $5.8 million in budget reductions for this year.
“We are a strong university, but we are in challenging times,” Hawkinson said. “We have many needs and limited resources, so we must continue to do all we can to recruit more students, retain more students and reduce our costs. I am fully aware that the reductions we have made have put stress in certain areas of our workforce, but we are doing all we can to ensure the long-term viability of our university.”