My budget update this week will be brief.
The S.C. Board of Economic Advisors met on Monday and lowered its state revenue forecast for the fiscal year that will begin July 1 by another $190 million. However, the BEA took no action to further reduce this year’s estimate. We hope this means we have seen the last of the state cuts for the current fiscal year.
The House Ways and Means Committee has begun drafting next year’s budget. We know the $38 million cut Clemson has sustained this year will not be restored, and additional cuts are likely next year. Much will depend on the state’s economy going forward, as well as the effect of the compromise federal economic stimulus bill which Congress will vote on today.
These federal stimulus funds could, directly or indirectly, help Clemson. They include direct aid to states; energy-efficiency grants to states and municipalities; increases in NSF, energy and biomedical (NIH) research funding; and increases in student financial aid (Pell Grants). We are working closely with state and federal officials to make sure that we understand these opportunities and that we take full advantage of them.
I told our Trustees yesterday basically the same thing I told you last week – that despite having one of the nation’s poorest records of funding higher education, South Carolina has one of the nation’s best public research universities in Clemson. Our top priority is to protect academic quality and core mission areas as we focus on the future – next fiscal year and beyond. A full account of my remarks to the Board is contained in an Inside Clemson report on the meeting, which can be found at http://www.clemson.edu/faculty-staff.
The task forces will report by Monday and next week the budget strategies team will begin its review of which recommendations can and should become a part of our plan, and in what time frame. I’d like to take this opportunity to again thank all of the faculty, staff and students who participated in this process, whether by serving on a task force, by attending a forum or by submitting an idea. As predicted, the discussions have been lively. Although only one piece of the puzzle, the work of the task forces will help tremendously in developing longer-term strategies for Clemson to succeed in a new global economic climate for higher education.
During this period, we encouraged you to send your thoughts directly to the task forces. Today, we are reactivating the feedback mechanism on the main Budget Impact web page at http://www.clemson.edu/president/budget. Please continue to send me your suggestions and questions. We will try to answer as many as we can in future budget messages, Inside Clemson or the FAQs page on the web.
Thank you again for your hard work and your dedication to our University and to our students. You are an inspiration to me.