The Pennsylvania State System of Higher Education (PASSHE) approved a pay increase for state university presidents’ despite economic budget cuts.
Receiving an increase of 6.5 percent, the highest percentage approved by PASSHE, Millersville University’s President Francine McNairy’s yearly wage will be $211,610.
According to Kenn Marshall of PASSHE, raises ranged from 2percent to 6.5 percent for university presidents.
Pay raises were approved in April prior to the request made by Governor Ed Rendell (D) to make budget cuts.
Pay increases were determined by the Board of Governors after examining universities on system accountability, student retention rates, graduation rates, and operational efficiency.
“The pay increases are about $145,000 out of a $1.4 billion budget,” Marshall said.
Governor Ed Rendell’s request for a 4.25 percent budget cut has not had an effect on the pay increase for McNairy.
“This University has a history of being a good stewart of money,” VP of Finance and Administration, Roger Bruszewski said. “The cabinet has done an excellent job of foreseeing problems.”
According to Bruszewski, out of a $101,655,431 budget for personnel, fixed and discretionary expenditures, money for budget cuts will only be taken from discretionary operations.
The University has already recalled a 2.5 percent inflation increase while reducing three percent across the board in the operating budget.
According to Bruszewski, nearly 1,600 students are hired each year by the University and a two-third surplus in student pay has been taken for the budget reserve.
“It would be like saying a student is to work 100 hours a semester and they only end up working 80 hours,” Bruszewski said. “It’s extra money that’s just sitting there.”
While undergraduate admissions have remained the same, admission for graduate students has been at a greater increase, leaving more money in tuition funds than anticipated.
Cosmetic renovations for the University facilities have been delayed, saving approximately $100,000.
About one-third of the funding from budget cuts are from permanent funds, while the other two-thirds comes from added revenue, like the salary savings from student employees.
“If the budget cut is not permanent we don’t want to recall all the money we’ve set aside,” Breszewski said.
A hiring freeze has not been placed on MU, and with approximately 80 open faculty and administrative positions open the University still plans on finding replacements for them.
When the budget is approved in March 2009, Breszewski plans to look at several areas where the economy could take a hit on University finances.
By Jan. 2010 he anticipates a 40 percent projection for utilities and approximately $1.9 million will be spent on efficiency for the 85 percent of the campus that runs on electricity.
“The last place we want this to have an impact is in the quality of classes,” Breszewski said. “Ninety-six percent of our students are Pa. residents and we are going to avoid making it more difficult for them to afford an education.”