U. trustees approve $1.58 billion operating budget for 2013-14 fiscal year
The University’s trustees have approved a $1.58 billion operating budget for the 2013-14 fiscal year, according to a statement released by Nassau Hall on Monday. The budget is 4 percent larger than last year’s budget of $1.5 billion and will fund the 12 month period beginning in June 2013.
Continuing the trend of recent years, the budget includes increases in both the undergraduate fee package, which grew by 3.8 percent, and the quantity of funds allotted to financial aid, which increased by 4.6 percent. Provost Christopher Eisgruber ’83 explained in the statement that the growth of the University’s financial aid program would effectively absorb the increase in the annual cost of attendance for students requiring financial assistance.
He noted that the scholarship budget is now $121.4 million, which he said would ensure that all students admitted to the University would be able to attend.
In the fiscal year that ended in 2012, when the University allocated $115.8 million for financial aid, the average aid package for a student admitted to the incoming class of 2016 stood at $39,700. Undergraduate fees for the 2013-14 fiscal year grew by a smaller percentage than they did last year, when a 4.5 percent increase saw the fee package surpass $50,000 for the first time.
The details of this year’s plan were presented by University President Shirley Tilghman and approved by the Board at a Jan. 26 meeting, following recommendations from the Priorities Committee, a subdivision of the Council of the Princeton University Community. The Committee, which meets annually to outline its proposal to the trustees, is chaired by Eisgruber and includes three other administrators, six faculty members, four undergraduates from the current senior class and two graduate students.
The rise in undergraduate fees was due to three individual hikes: a 3.9 percent increase in room charges, a 3.2 percent increase in boarding rates and a 3.8 percent increase in tuition.
Graduate tuition also rose 3.8 percent to $40,170 – making it equivalent to undergraduate tuition – while stipends for graduate students grew accordingly by 3 percent. Two pools to provide salary increases for faculty and staff were also approved.
The University has successfully defrayed increasing labor costs in recent years, due in part to the strong performance of its $17 billion endowment. However, Eisgruber stressed the need for careful management to guard against uncertain investment conditions in the immediate future.
The University’s endowment returned 3.1 percent in the fiscal year ended in June 2012, marking a significant decrease from the previous year that is reflective of broader market conditions. Nonetheless, the University succeeded in balancing its budget without tapping into reserve funds.
Although the endowment return soared to 21.9 percent in the fiscal year ending in 2011, the lingering effects of the financial crisis forced the University to draw on its reserves that year.
Eisgruber identified the maintenance of these emergency pools as a priority in moving forward, while also praising the performance of academic departments and administrative divisions for meeting financial targets over the past few years.
That task will be shouldered in part by Strengthening University Management and Resources, a committee created three years ago to implement cost-cutting measures. Since its inception, SUMAR has overseen about 60 proposals, which the University expects to produce combined savings of over $15 million per annum.
Despite an emphasis on frugality, the approved proposal more than doubled the total set aside for “programmatic recommendations,” allocating $1.2 million for high-priority initiatives. These measures include the hiring of an additional librarian to advise scholars on copyright policy as well as an executive director in the Office of Career Services.
The University also announced that it will fund the hiring of a manger of international appointments, who will be tasked with navigating the legal requirements associated with employing foreign nationals. This request from the Office of the Dean of the Faculty was turned down by last year’s proposal.