I've been department chair for almost five years now and I haven't much enjoyed a 40% decrease to our department budget and trying to allocate a one-time 1.3% (or something like that) raise. News like this is disheartening (but I'll add a caveat at the bottom):
In a memo on Feb. 28, [Art Pope, the state budget director] took university leaders to task, saying they’re asking for far too much money at a time when the state has competing priorities such as Medicaid and raises for K-12 teachers and state employees. He said the university system had basically ignored his office’s instructions in December to come forward with budget expansion requests of no more than 2 percent. ...
This year, the UNC system received $2.5 billion in state money for operations and another $64 million for building repairs and construction.
Pope said the board has requested an increase of $288 million, or 11.3 percent over the current year’s state budget for UNC. Those figures do not include any raises for employees.
While the state’s economy is improving, an 11 percent increase is a fantasy, he said. Such a spending increase for UNC, Pope said, would require the governor and legislature “to make major reductions in other state agencies and programs, such as our courts, the ‘K-12’ public schools, and health care.” ...From 2007-08 to 2012-13, appropriations per student have declined 7 percent while tuition receipts per student have jumped 47 percent, according to the university system’s budget proposal. Controlling for inflation, education spending per degree at UNC has declined by 18 percent, UNC said. ...
Pope, too, seems to be casting his eye toward the university’s ability to pay its own bills.
He pointed out that the system had a cash balance of nearly $269 million by the end of the 2012 fiscal year and collected $228 million in overhead payments accompanying grants and contracts, mostly from the federal government.
“How much of the overhead receipts are being used for the repairs and renovations for the facilities used to generate the overhead receipts, as opposed to requesting $163 million in General Fund appropriations for repairs and renovations?” Pope asked in his memo.
Appstate is looking for something like $90 million, I think, for a new nursing building. That is a lot of money in the current budget environment.
After almost 25 years in the UNC system, I've gotten way tired of the mission creep. ECU wanted to move up the Carnegie ladder and when we did they immediately announced a goal of moving up the next rung. Universities want new PhD programs, engineering schools, dental schools and et cetera. I've always wondered: why don't we just try to do better the stuff we are currently doing?