FY16 budget shows more cuts, less revenue


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Fiscal Budget graphic

By Campus Reporter

The college released its approved budget for the 2015–2016 fiscal year to students, faculty and staff, revealing deep cuts to the instructional sector’s budget and a 12.6 percent increase in the college’s administrative expenses.

The budget, released in a Nov. 10 email from President and CEO Kwang-Wu Kim, is also available on the college’s website and reveals that Columbia’s overall revenues and expenses have decreased from the 2014–2015 fiscal year budget. It also shows funds for instructional departments and academic administration have decreased while there was a nearly $3.5 million increase in administrative expenses.

Kim, Senior Vice President and Provost Stan Wearden and CFO and Vice President of Business Affairs Michelle Gates were not made available for comment.

“The approved budget does not reflect actual spending and revenues for 2015–2016,” Kim said in the emailed announcement. “There will be variances between planned and actual spending in individual areas, although we will hold to the agreed-upon bottom line.”

For the 2015–2016 fiscal year, the college is expected to bring in $207.7 million in revenue, a $7.3 million decrease from last year, according to budget figures.

According to the budget, revenues from tuition and fees rose by $300,000 from the 2014–2015 fiscal year, but funds raised by gifts, contracts and other income dropped 81.5 percent to $1.4 million.

Jon Stern, vice president of Development and Alumni Relations, was not made available for comment.

College expenses have decreased from $216.5 million last year to $207.7 million for fiscal year 2016.

Spending did not decrease for institutional advancement, student services and college administration, which rose to $31.3 million from $27.8 million last year.

College administration covers “management of, and long-range planning for, the college; fiscal operations; administrative information technology; space management; human resources and non academic records; procurement; and support services for faculty and staff,” according to the description given on the website. 

The 2016 budget reveals $71.7 million has been allocated for instructional departments, which covers the cost of faculty, staff and department-related expenses. Instructional department expenses do not include the cost of academic administration that is not instructional, according to the website.

The money allocated for academic administration, which includes the provost’s and deans’ offices, has decreased by $1.2 million from last year, according to the website.

The college began making the budget public during the Spring 2015 Semester in what the college said was an effort to increase transparency, but Cara Birch, a spokeswoman for the college, refused repeated requests for interviews with the college administration about budget particulars.