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September 7, 2011 – Budget Update

To NC State Faculty, Staff and Students,

The heat of summer has finally broken, 34,000-plus students are back on campus and we’re off and running on a new year, NC State University’s 125th.  There is much to celebrate about the history and identity of NC State, but before the celebration begins let’s finish off the discussion of the budget for this year.

We have submitted our budget reduction plan for the current year to General Administration.  With the possible exception of some minor changes, our budget is set.  This has been a complex process that has taken longer than any of us hoped.  I appreciate your patience. 

For this year, NC State has taken a total budget reduction of about 15.1 percent of our appropriated state funding.  That translates to about $79.3 million.  In more practical terms, it equates to the loss of funding for 753 administrative staff and faculty positions and reduced capacity in terms of services, course sections and class seats.  Here is some additional detail on the effects of the reductions.  More information can be found at the Budget News website: www.ncsu.edu/budget/.

  • Of the 753 full-time equivalent positions lost, approximately 112 positions were filled. 
  • While we continue to provide an outstanding education for a growing number of students, our overall instructional capacity has decreased.  That means less flexibility for students to get the courses they want in the sequence they want.  Because of capacity constraints, students may have difficulty completing minors.  Students also likely will spend more time in larger classes.  For example, the Poole College of Management has increased some of its accounting and economics classes to exceed more than 350 students.  For faculty, that means an increased workload.
  • In some cases, we have out of necessity reduced the level of service that will be provided.  For example, we have reduced Help Desk hours offered by Information Technology. 
  • Libraries will operate two main libraries (D.H. Hill and Hunt when it opens) with no net gain in positions, which will mean diminished service levels in both libraries. 
  • We have lost $18 million of non-salary teaching, research and extension support dollars, including reductions to centers and institutes.

We know all too well the effects of the economy on the state’s budget and we know that state agencies and University of North Carolina institutions have taken considerable budget cuts.  That’s the bad news.  The good news is that we know what we are up against.  While the budget is tight, we now know clearly how we will operate for this year.  And, we have a strategic plan that anticipates a fiscally constrained future.

I will be the first to say that this has been a painful process, but we knew it was coming.  By understanding the budgetary environment and thoughtfully planning for reductions, NC State has positioned itself to continue moving forward. 

I appreciate the way everyone on campus has embraced the strategic plan, organizational realignment and budget conversations.  They have been interactive processes built on the contributions of hundreds of students, faculty and staff who were directly and indirectly involved.

Now it’s time to strengthen our focus on providing a quality education and delivering relevant solutions for the people of North Carolina.  We have been good at that throughout our history and we will continue to be good at it.  That fact is foremost among the things we will celebrate in our 125th year.

Thank you again for your patience and contributions as we have worked through this process.  I hope you will continue to contribute to these important conversations by joining me for the Chancellor Forum planned for 3 p.m. on Wednesday, Sept. 28 in Witherspoon Cinema.  

As I have said many times, we are not going to let budget challenges cripple us.  Let’s move forward with the confidence of a university community that supports and honors the strengths of NC State. 

Randy Woodson
Chancellor
NC State University