ASU trustees vote to freeze budget, tuition

ASU trustees vote to freeze budget, tuition

JONESBORO, Ark. (KAIT) - The Arkansas State University Board of Trustees voted Thursday to keep tuition and fees steady for the coming school year.

The board also approved a $279.8 million system budget that cuts expenses by nearly $14 million in anticipation of lower state revenue and possible enrollment losses, according to a news release from the ASU System Office.

System President Chuck Welch described the budget as “very conservative and cautious” during these unprecedented times.

“The situation we face today is why we work so hard to build and maintain healthy, financially stable institutions,” Welch said. “We’ve chosen to make difficult spending decisions rather than use reserve funds. We spared our faculty and staff from salary cuts and furloughs, and we kept tuition and fees steady for students and parents facing financial uncertainty.”

In a part of the budget, a 5 percent cut in enrollment passed. Welch explains the system does not expect a dip in enrollment.

The instructional setting in which the fall semester meets could change to more online, adjusting the enrollment percentage change.

Welch says all campus operations will be looked at and addressed on a regular basis ahead of the next semester.

“We are addressing COVID-19 in a very comprehensive manner. We’re trying to learn from one another at both the state and national level and when we do bring students back to campus in the fall," he says. "We will have all of the appropriate protocols and plans in place. As well as, contingency plans in case we need to adjust for that depending on what the environment is at that particular time.”

While necessary and appropriate this year, Welch said the spending cuts would not be sustainable.

“Institutions will put on hold capital projects and also scale back deferred maintenance projects, professional development, and travel. Hiring freezes will also be in place” the news release quoted him as saying.

Welch says the board works proactively in keeping reserves for all campuses to endure any type of crisis.

To read the full release, click here.

All items on the agenda passed Thursday, to view the agenda, click here.

Copyright 2020 KAIT. All rights reserved.