2011 TC Pressroom
Teachers College, Columbia University
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Proposed 1998-1999 Budget Features More Money for Scholarships, Repairs and Faculty Positions

Fred Schnur, Vice President for Finance and Administration, presented a proposed $69.5 million budget for 1998-99 to the TC community last month.

The spending plan is designed to ensure that TC both operates within its means and increases the amount available for financial aid, renovation, technology, faculty positions, and salaries.

As Inside TC was going to press, the budget was being presented to the TC Trustees.

Schnur has been trying to increase community participation. He started the budget process earlier in the academic year, developing budget priorities from the results of community surveys and meetings.

He has made presentations on the budget to the TC community at large, the Faculty Executive Committee's subcommittee on finance and facilities, the academic Department Chairs and the faculty.

"The budget reflects the priorities of the community," he said. "Every year we get more input and we share more with the community."

Budget highlights include:

  • The lowest tuition hike in 10 years--4.9 percent;
  • A 12.6 percent increase in the student financial aid budget;
  • Five new faculty positions;
  • Increased funding for services for students, faculty and staff with disabilities;
  • Funding for academic program expenses related to maintaining FY98 enrollment;
  • Technology enhancements, including more money for computer workstations, technical assistance in the computer lab, software and improving the TC website;
  • Faculty office renovations and other physical plant repairs;
  • Additional funding for the early retirement program;
  • And a 3.5 percent increase in the salary pool for staff and faculty salaries.

"This budget continues a trend of improving the budget process," Schnur said. "We focused on those areas the community said needed attention."

When he joined the TC administration nearly three years ago, he inherited a budget deficit of approximately $3.3 million. The accumulated deficit has been trimmed to $2.2 million as of August 31, 1997, and the College has earmarked an additional $300,000 to further reduce that deficit.

The College is trying to eradicate the deficit, while at the same time attempting to reverse decades of neglecting the physical plant and not adequately funding the operating budget. It's not easy. "The community has to appreciate that it's difficult to turn around in two or three years a situation created by decades of neglect."

As a matter of policy, Schnur said: "When we renovate we will make facilities accessible to everyone. It's the law. It's also just the right thing to do."

This summer, architects will be finishing plans for a ramp to the entrance of Main Hall. When they finish their work, the contract will go out to bid.

It could take another 12 weeks after the bidding process begins before the contract is awarded, Schnur said.

"You need a plan. We can't just react," he explained. "Unfortunately planning takes time. But if you do it the right way, it's all worth it."

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