Dear faculty, staff and students,
As you've seen in the news in recent days, the Joint Higher Education Subcommittee of the General Assembly directed the University System of Georgia to explain how it would absorb an additional $300 million cut in state funding for fiscal year 2011, which begins July 1, 2010. To that end, each of the 35 University System presidents was directed to prepare an assessment of the impact that the pro-rated share of the cut would have on her or his campus. Georgia State University's portion of such a cut would be $34 million.
Knowing that specifics of our assessment of the potential impact of a $34M cut to GSU are likely to become public soon, I'm writing to provide you with some information and context. As directed by the subcommittee, the assessment that we provided did not include a tuition increase nor did it include other factors that could help offset some portion of this staggering reduction in state funding to GSU.
To be sure, the most alarming element in GSU's assessment of the impact of a $34M cut is the potential elimination of 622 filled positions. A cut of that magnitude also could force us to admit more than 1,000 fewer students annually. None of us wants to see anything close to these actions happening at GSU or at any other System institution. Such actions would be devastating to students and to our state. That is for certain.
The subcommittee's direction to look at the potential impact of a $300M additional budget reduction for the University System does not represent a real or immediate reduction. The legislative budget process is continuing, and the information we've provided is helping our elected officials to understand the full depth of the scenario that they asked us to consider.
At this time we do not know what the actual cut to Georgia State will be when the legislative process concludes, nor do we know what other factors will emerge in the coming days and weeks to help us mitigate the effects of a cut. We are working with the University System and with legislators to make the case that higher education, and particularly Georgia State University, is important to Georgia's ability to return to growth and prosperity. The long-term future of our state depends on growing, not shrinking, the number of well-educated Georgians.
This is a fluid process and we may not know the full extent of what will be required of us for some time. Still, I think it appropriate and important to have an open and honest discussion of where we are and what may be on the horizon.
We will hold a town hall meeting Wednesday, March 3, at 3 p.m. in the Student Center Ballroom. During the meeting I will provide an update on the legislature's budget process as it pertains to GSU, and I will answer your questions. Similar to last fall's town hall meetings, we ask that you e-mail questions in advance to email@example.com. You also will have the opportunity to submit written questions on note cards provided at the session. Only written questions will be addressed.
This is a challenging budget climate and has been for quite some time. You have been terrific in shouldering the burden placed upon us by this recession. I thank each of you for your commitment to Georgia State University, and for the sacrifices you have made in the service of GSU and our students.
Mark P. Becker
If you have any questions or concerns, please contact Chandler Brown.