Current as of January 15, 2012
As you may have seen in morning news accounts, Gov. Haley on Friday released her budget proposal for the next fiscal year. The entire budget document now has been reviewed by Winthrop and shows the following:
The governor introduces the concept of Accountability Based Funding (ABF) in her budget document, proposing that the state "transition" to that system over the next six years, basing each institution's funding on the number of in-state students served and institutions' performance in four categories: completion (30%,) affordability and access (30%,) educational quality (25%,) and economic development and institutional mission (15%.)
You will recall that presidents met with the governor over recent months to make recommendations regarding such a proposal. The governor's budget document recommends that this be a 'learning year' for exactly how such measures could be taken and how such a system might work, with 5% of funding for FY 2013-14 determined under ABF, and increasing percentages in successive years through FY 2017-18.
-- An increase in operating funding of 2.3% is proposed for each institution, with that amount to include the state's allocation for health insurance for those employees who are fully state-funded. At Winthrop, the increase would be $281,318. It will be up to Winthrop to fund health insurance costs for the remainder of its employees. No capital or non-recurring funding is proposed by the governor.
-- Two changes are proposed for funding that flows to Winthrop through the Commission on Higher Education: (1) Lottery technology funds for all comprehensive and two-year institutions would be allocated by formula to institutions from just over $4 million in regular lottery earnings. Funds supporting other allocations historically made from excess earnings or unclaimed prizes would be directed to the lottery scholarships account instead of institutions to make up for declining lottery income overall; (2) a recent small allocation to each of the academic libraries participating in PASCAL, the state electronic library system, is not continued in the proposed budget.
-- The budget message also includes a nod toward some regulatory relief, in that it proposes an inventory of required reporting for possible streamlining.
-- No salary increase is proposed for state employees in the governor's budget.
This is the first step in the budget process, of course. The proposal goes forward to the General Assembly, where the House Ways and Means Committee already has begun budget hearings. Once the House completes its version of the budget in March, the Senate will begin its part of the process. Finalization of the budget in recent years has extended into June, at which point Winthrop can then make a tuition recommendation to you.
As always, we will keep you posted on key developments throughout the process.