UMaine, UMaine Machias budget update
Dear UMaine and UMaine Machias community members,
I want to take this opportunity to thank the many members of our UMaine and UMaine Machias departments, programs and units who have developed FY24 budget proposals in recent weeks, with particular focus on cost-saving efficiencies and creative revenue-generating ideas. These proposals call on us to be resourceful and innovative to ensure we are fulfilling our student-centered focus and institutional mission. We also must maintain and advance the strong research enterprise that you all have built, for the good of our students, our state and beyond. The work we do now to address our fiscal realities will form the foundation of financial sustainability at the state’s flagship university and our regional campus in Machias going forward.
We will do this important work together as university community members, just as we are doing now in our campuswide student recruitment and retention efforts. As I noted in my State of the University Address, we are already enacting new ways of accomplishing what is most critical to us. Thank you all for what you have already done in FY23 to find efficiencies. Planning for FY24 has been undertaken with the recognition that the shortfall we faced in FY23 will continue and could grow.
We have submitted a balanced budget for FY24 to the Board of Trustees, relying on use of reserves, heightened efforts to achieve efficiencies and savings in operations, and anticipated changes in practices and policies for cost-savings. This will not be an easy process and will require difficult choices, prioritizing key areas and needs as we proceed. We will continue to work closely with deans and directors to make strategic decisions for filling vacant positions in high-demand and critical areas that arise because of faculty and staff retirements and departures.
We already have processes in place to optimize our management and deployment of financial aid, and to review funds that may be available in non-E&G accounts. We will draw carefully on the well-established reserve accounts that are in place because of the careful stewardship of those before us. Our goal is to achieve balance and minimize reserve use by FY26.
It is paramount that we identify new revenue growth opportunities. Everyone can play their part by finding efficiencies; bringing in external funding and spending it so that the indirect returns come back to us; and continue doing the very best possible job that we can do in and outside the classroom, the labs, the research sites, the athletics venues, and in all of our day-to-day work.
We will emphasize enrollment and retention based on the implementation of the Strategic Enrollment Plan and nontraditional revenue growth opportunities across our enterprise, and creative programming in FY24–FY26. We will continue to implement both efficiencies and growth-oriented solutions across all three years. By FY27, we intend to begin rebuilding our reserves.
This three-year model depends on a collaborative decision-making process, and our solutions will be data- and benchmark-driven. Our work will depend on ongoing collaboration with the Faculty Senate, senior administrators and others committed to making the decisions needed to maintain our focus on providing the best education possible for students and our institutional mission. I invite you to join in a collaborative discussion during a virtual town hall from 10–11 a.m., March 20.
The University of Maine is an outstanding institution. Maine’s Congressional delegation, federal agencies, Governor Mills and the Maine Legislature, corporate partners, and our generous and supportive alumni and donors all continue to demonstrate their great confidence in our institution. Our range of more than 100 majors, programs and credentials is comprehensive and designed to meet our students’ interests and build their careers. The new and innovative opportunities available to our students to engage early in experiential learning, to study side-by-side with world class scholars and researchers, and to live and lead in a caring and supportive community are extraordinary.
As a world-class, comprehensive, R1, D1 university committed to being a leader in the University of Maine System, the state, and beyond, our financial model will evolve to sustain the needs of the university in the future. And we will be successful with the help of all of you in our university communities.