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Budget Challenges

May 1, 2009

Dear Campus Community:

Today's budget presentations will include a number of reports. After my presentation, the co-chairs of the Budget and Resource Council (read the PDF overview), Provost Mel Netzhammer and Assistant Vice President Paul Striffolino, will present feedback about what members of the campus community have submitted to them and the status of these thus far. Vice President Jay Kahn and the budget managers have been reviewing cost containment areas and he will present an overview of these findings. Additionally, he will brief you on the status of strategic planning.

Today, I will provide an update to the timeline of essential information affecting the budget that is on the website. I will also present some information about options other institutions are using to reduce their budgets and relevant USNH policies.

Current Status of Budget Parameters

  • Budget: The New Hampshire House approved the use of $3 million from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA or stimulus bill) that would bring the FY2010 budget to $100 million. The Governor has endorsed this recommendation. The Chair of the Board and Chancellor-elect testified before the NH Senate on April 27, 2009, in support of this budget.

  • The Student Assembly recommended increases in student fees that were approved by the Board of Trustees’ Finance Committee. This is a rigorous process where the Student Assembly reviews and questions each auxiliary unit’s director regarding proposed fee increases. The Cabinet and I approved a 5 percent increase guideline for room, board, and athletics, and a 3 percent guideline for all other mandatory fees.

    The Student Assembly recommended the following increases: residential life rates, 5%; dining rates, 4.5%; educational technology fee, 2.2%; athletic fee, 5% increase (which supports the positions of women’s field hockey coach and assistant sports information officer). Health Services and Counseling, 3.2% increase for both. They are becoming auxiliaries and will be self-supporting in FY2010. Recreation fee, 2.8%; Student Center, 2.4%; shuttle fee, $2. I have approved these fee increases, which now must be approved by the Board’s Executive Committee and the full Board in June.

  • Tuition models are to be discussed at the Board’s Finance Committee meeting on May 11. In addition, the Governor and the presidents will discuss increased year-round campus utilization and revenue development. No final decision about tuition will be made by the Board until June.

  • The College is currently considering holding staff salary increases to 2%, with a start date of January 1, 2010. The Board will make a final decision about salaries in June.

  • Enrollment is currently at 1,178 for first time students. Deposits have been coming in at a rate of about 90 per day for each of the past three days. The College is 147 deposits away from a target of 1325, which usually falls to 1250 by R+30 (thirty days after opening). Right now, the College is on target to enroll 50 fewer students than this year, and 50 more than 2007’s numbers, as planned. However, financial aid needs across the country are 20% higher than last year and the same increase is true on our campus. Financial aid appeals are up significantly. Residential housing fell short by 500 beds at the end of last semester. Orientation has changed and brings families to campus later. These are but a few of the factors that could impact our holding onto the entering first-year, first-time class, which may also impact our returning students. I want you to know that the College has a team taking aggressive actions to make the enrollment target with the quality of students we expect.

  • Led by Director Peggy Richmond, Admissions has made personal calls to students who have not submitted a deposit. They have worked closely with the financial aid office to assure families that through discussions the College could help them work through their financial issues.

  • Orientation, led by assistant vice president Anne Miller, has developed a strategy to keep in contact with parents and students throughout the summer. Patty Farmer, director of Alumni and Parent Relations, is also working to keep parents informed.

  • Members of the Financial Aid office have called all students who have appealed their aid packages. These numbers are huge. Compared with 200 for last year, the number for first-year first-time students is at 220, not counting returning students. Led by Pat Blodgett, the director, Financial Aid officers are developing packaging targeted to meet students’ needs. The College has provided $800,000 dollars extra to help our students finish their education. We are committed to do more to help some of our students and their families over this financial situation. We will take this one step at a time.

  • Residential Life, led by Kent Drake-Deese, director, informs me that housing needs are at about 130 students on a wait list without counting transfers and some others. He has already looked at other creative ways to house students off-campus and is looking for additional ways that these students can be housed until the natural melt occurs.

  • The Enrollment Management committee, led by Vice President for Student Affairs Andy Robinson and Assistant Vice President Anne Miller, will work with the Financial Aid office to follow up with any students at risk of deregistration in July through August.

    Enrollment Management is not an exact science. We may end up below or above the target. We will keep you informed. I can say to you that these teams are doing all they can to make the enrollment target happen and I appreciate their diligence and good work.

Strategies to Decrease the Budget

Additionally, the Director of Human Resources, Kim Harkness, and Vice President for Finance and Planning Jay Kahn were asked to provide estimates of the impact of various strategies that could be employed by colleges to reduce their budgets during rescissions. I will note them now as options to be considered should the College face large rescissions.

Currently, 2009 CUPA data from more than 300 institutions show the estimated strategies that these institutions are instituting for executives, exempt, and nonexempt employees:

  • Hiring freeze (30%)
  • Delayed hiring (36%)
  • Wage freeze (25%)
  • Reduction in salary increase percentage (20%)
  • or nonexempt-hourly, overtime control (56%)

Savings projected from selected options at Keene State College:

  • Furloughs of staff, not including faculty, would save about $80,000 per day.
  • 1% reduction of all benefitted staff, including senior administrators, would save about $200,000 per year.
  • Converting Operating Staff to 37.5 hrs./wk would save about $210,000.
  • Faculty contracts are still under negotiation.

USNH layoff policies have been reviewed by the Operating Staff and the Professional and Technical Staff with the Human Resources Director, Cabinet, and me. Currently, the Cabinet and I are weighing the layoff notice periods and considering a recommendation from the two staff councils for parallel notices for OS and PAT and notices for long-term complementary non-faculty employees, and any fiscal impact.

The Cabinet and I will review all options and develop a plan to address a rescission appropriate to its magnitude. We will continue to keep you informed. We are hopeful that the good work of the campus on cost containment, revenue enhancement, and budget cutting will help the College move forward during this time. I thank you all for your good work.


Helen F. Giles-Gee


+ Budget Challenges

+ Information Timeline

+ External Resources

+ Budget Suggestion Box

Generating Savings and Gaining Efficiency (PDF)

Adding Value for Students and the State (PDF)


In-state Tutition

State Budget

FY 2012 -2013 State Appropriations

State of the College – Helen F. Giles-Gee

FY 11 Budget Update from President Giles-Gee

Budget Update from President Giles-Gee

Message to Students Regarding Course Registration

NH Supreme Court Ruling on Medical Malpractice Fund Surplus

Open Budget Forum, October 30, 2009

Budget Update from President Giles-Gee

Budget Update from President Giles-Gee

Budget Update from President Giles-Gee

Budget Update from President Giles-Gee

Budget Update from President Giles-Gee

USNH House Finance Committee FY2010-11 Operating Budget Hearing

President Giles-Gee Speaks to Campus about Current Budget Challenges Video

Campus Budget Overview

President Giles-Gee Calls Campus Budget Discussion


Updated: August 25, 2010 KSC Photos on SmugMug Subscribe to the KSC RSS news feed Keene State on Facebook Keene State on Twitter Keene State on YouTube

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