ST. CLOUD (WJON News) - Now that the spring semester at St. Cloud State University has ended, leaders will prepare for hard decisions on the future of the university.

SCSU is facing a $5 million budget deficit for fiscal year 2024, after a nearly $18 million deficit in fiscal year 2023. Officials admit that a one-time state program, designed to offset declining enrollment at universities, added $9.75 million to fiscal year 2024’s report, masking an actual $15 million deficit.

Administrators have prepared an action plan to balance the budget that includes focusing on the 90 strongest academic programs. Acting President Larry Lee says the university is strong, but the spending is not in line with revenue.

This institution generated $122 million in operating revenue. The problem is you spent 140 million. There are a lot of institutions across this great nation that would love to have $122 million in revenue. Our problem is our expenses are just not aligned with our revenues. We're (a) strong institution doing great things, but our expenses are just misaligned with our revenues.

The Proposed Plan Details:

  • Of the current 136 programs of study, the University will focus on the 90 strongest academic programs. Officials say the cuts will not affect 90 percent of the student body, the cuts will eliminate 46 major programs and 50 minor programs.
  • The majors facing cuts include:
Graphic: SCSU
Graphic: SCSU
  • The minors facing cuts include:
Graphic: SCSU
Graphic: SCSU
  • The University will reduce the administration budget by 13 percent.
  • The University will reduce the faculty budget by 13 percent. This will result in 57 faculty positions being cut.
Graphic: SCSU
Graphic: SCSU

Lee says students affected by the cuts will have options.

The recommendation (is) that we would keep 90 programs. The 90 programs that we are recommending to maintain represent 91% of our students. So of the 46 programs that we're recommending to discontinue, only 9% of our students are affiliated with those programs. All of those students will have the option of being taught out, where we'll help them achieve their degree path. They would have the opportunity to move into another program if they so desire, but we will teach out their current programs.

Currently, the administration is in negotiations with faculty to agree on the plan moving forward, and officials hope to have a plan finalized by the end of May.

Larry Dietz, the new Interim President of St. Cloud State University, will begin his work on July 1st.


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