News From Terre Haute, Indiana

December 16, 2012

Performance-based budget loss less than ISU first thought

Sue Loughlin
The Tribune-Star

TERRE HAUTE — Indiana State University’s budget would fare better than initially thought under recommendations from the Commission for Higher Education for 2013-15.

Under the commission’s recommendations, ISU’s projected loss through a performance funding formula would be only $827,747 over two years, rather than the $2.2 million initially anticipated.

That would mean ISU’s operating appropriation in 2014-15 would be $66.8 million.

Also, under the commission recommendations, ISU would receive $1.4 million each year in repair/rehabilitation funding for facilities. For the past several years, ISU has received no R and R money or very limited amounts.

In addition, the commission is recommending favorably for two ISU capital projects. One is for renovation of life science/chemistry labs, which would be $4.5 million. The other is renovation of Normal Hall to serve as a Center for Student Success. That would cost $16 million.

Diann McKee, ISU vice president for business affairs, explained the recommendations to ISU trustees during a seminar on budget planning Friday. “So far it’s good news,” McKee said.

But it’s also early in the process. The commission will present its budget recommendations for all public higher education to the State Budget Committee Monday.

In the end, it will be the Indiana Legislature that makes those funding decisions. Also, a new governor — Mike Pence — will be in office next year, and higher education officials hope to learn his budget priorities.

During the regular trustee meeting, President Dan Bradley presented data showing that ISU “is doing exceptionally well in advancing its goals and maintaining a healthy financial performance despite budgetary challenges.”

He used a color-coded “dashboard” chart to track performance in key areas related to budget management and areas the Commission for Higher Education uses for performance-based funding.

The dashboard measurements include the ratio of students to faculty/staff; annualized full-time equivalent enrollment of Indiana residents; various financial indicators for the university overall, housing and dining as well as athletics; and performance priorities for the commission including degree completion, on-time degrees and progression toward degree attainment. These measurements are all based on in-state enrollments only.

There are two areas that need special attention — on-time degree completion and athletic fundraising, Bradley said. The university’s enrollment growth, creation of a University College and the development of the Sycamore Graduation Guarantee are among the strategies being used to improve degree completion.

The ISU Foundation is working with the department of intercollegiate athletics to improve athletic fundraising. The Foundation recently hired veteran coach and fundraiser Phil Ness to lead those efforts.

“Many people throughout the university have worked to meet these goals, and I am pleased with the progress being made. Indiana State is well positioned for continued success in the future,” Bradley said in a news release.

Sue Loughlin can be reached at (812) 231-4235 or sue.loughlin@tribstar.com.