The University of Montana Western

General Funds Estimated Operating Budget Plan FY 05

June 21, 2004

While The University of Montana Western remains under financial pressure, the FY 05 budget provides Western the opportunity to pursue specific priorities designed to move the campus toward a better future. This has been made possible by budget cuts and reallocations at Western, planned savings in the FY 04 budget for a one-time carry-forward to FY 05, and significant fund transfers from the University of Montana Missoula. Western is currently beginning new programs and transitioning to a new scheduling model designed to improve the long-term stability and preserve the academic quality of the campus. These include the phased transition to the Experience One scheduling model with the freshman implementation, a new equine and natural horsemanship program whose applications are surpassing expectations, and a B.S. program in Early Childhood Education that was very successful in FY04. Applications are up significantly and contingency plans for opening additional course sections are in place, should a significant enrollment increase materialize this year.


UM-M s sustainable growth initiative will provide $165,000 to Western to stabilize the Early Childhood B.S., provide additional marketing resources for the new programs, provide faculty development for Experience One teaching, and provide additional faculty required to offer both the new and traditional scheduling models simultaneously during the transition year. In addition, Western saved $150,000 in FY 04 to carry-forward to FY 05 for additional faculty, transitional staff, an advising center for all current students so they might progress to graduation on-time, and to provide additional library acquisitions. Western has reallocated base funds to provide a highly qualified faculty member to the equine program, stabilize library personnel, and restore a portion of previous cuts to summer school.


While the FY 05 budget provides significant opportunities, Western faces serious financial pressures in the next biennium. Our current base budget is dependent on $729,213 in fund transfers from UM-Missoula. Without this significant transfer Western would have experienced a severe financial crisis, necessitating untenable budget cuts and extremely high increases in tuition and fees. The continued increased costs in health insurance, utilities, retirements, and an anticipated pay plan along with the competition for attracting and retaining a declining pool of Montana students increases Western s concerns.


As we welcome a new Chancellor and transition to Experience One, the campus is optimistic about its role in the University system. With the support of a system perspective that one-size institution does not fit all, Western will continue to have a balanced budget that furthers the Regents priorities and Western s strategic plan.