Trustees restore retirement contribution as part of FY 2011 budget

The Brandeis Board of Trustees has approved a $356 million operating budget for fiscal 2011 that puts the university on a path towards a balanced operating budget within four years, and reflects a university-wide effort to align resources with commitments over the long-term.

“We can now put the focus back on teaching, scholarship and research rather than on budgets,” said President Jehuda Reinharz. “This is a great achievement in today’s economic climate, especially when we see many peer institutions facing deep, across-the-board cuts, some retrenchment on financial aid commitments and extensive layoffs. Brandeis chose a different and more strategic path this year."

The financial report presented to trustees by Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer Jeff Apfel recognized that,  “In an environment of substantial economic, competitive and financial stress on the university, all constituents stepped up to meet the challenge.”

“Every action…has contributed to a healthier financial condition for Brandeis and will move the university closer to a goal of true financial equilibrium over the next several years,” the report states. “This has been done with an eye towards ensuring that the things that make Brandeis so special are not impaired.”

Apfel was referring to the Brandeis 2020 Committee’s proposals to reduce the academic footprint and spending; efforts by the Heller School for Social Policy and Management, the Brandeis International Business School and the Rabb School of Continuing Studies to generate new revenues; and additional cost-savings identified by a review of administrative practices.

Due to all these efforts, the report projected that operating deficits will drop from  $11.1 million in fiscal 2011, to $6.3 million in fiscal 2012, and to $1.8 million in fiscal 2013. The report projects a $600,000 surplus in 2014. The board agreed to a 6.8 percent draw on the endowment to cover the projected fiscal year 2011 deficit. FY 2011 starts July 1, 2010.  

The report acknowledged, however, that Brandeis continues to face long-range financial needs like deferred building maintenance and funds for the unrestricted endowment. The package approved by the board also includes:

  • Restoration of the university ‘s contribution to the retirement program, effective July 1, 2010
  • A two percent merit increase pool for faculty and staff earning less than $150,000 in base compensation
  • An increase in tuition and mandatory fees of 3.9 percent for the coming year
  • An increase in undergraduate student enrollment of 100 over current fiscal year 2010 levels (part of CARS recommendations)
  • $320,000 in savings from faculty reductions
  • $300,000 in administrative savings, including from energy contracts

“These are all important steps for the university," said the president. "We worked hard to keep the tuition increase below four percent, recognizing the economic reality facing families. Sixty-five percent of our students receive grant or scholarship assistance from Brandeis, and we are committed to making a Brandeis education possible for all our students.

"After two difficult years, it is also critical that we recognize and reward the hard work of the faculty and staff with salary adjustments. I am very gratified to restore the retirement contribution because we made a commitment to do that after one year," he added.

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