by Max Brantley
I think it is comment enough when a university that has a business school, is heavily subsidized by the Walton family and employs a battalion of six-figure assistant, asssociate, vice and assorted other chancellors must issue a news release that says:
Advancement Division Balances Fiscal Year 2013 Budget
UA accounting office bounced no checks in 2013!
All 2013 UA graduates can read!
Razorback linemen can tackle!
The news release, for your information (still lacking internal details on revenue sources and all expenditures):
The Division of University Advancement at the University of Arkansas will finish the 2013 fiscal year with a balanced budget, Chris Wyrick, vice chancellor for university advancement, and Don Pederson, vice chancellor for finance and administration, announced today. Total expenditures were $13,371,490.
“As is the policy and practice for most public and private institutions, the university is in the final days of accounting for any possible end-of-year revenues and expenditures in order to close the books on FY13,” Pederson said. “We are confident that the division’s budget will be balanced even after those final adjustments are taken into account.”
Pederson explained that the university always closes its books for a fiscal year at the end of July, which is the first month of a new fiscal year. Once that occurs, the university prepares its official financial statements, which are submitted to state lawmakers for legislative review. The final financial report is then prepared and released which generally occurs in January.
Wyrick said he is proud of the efforts and sacrifices made to produce the balanced FY13 budget.
“Balancing the budget was accomplished primarily by cutting back on expenses that would not materially impact fundraising, as well as with revenue increases from unrestricted gift funds and university unrestricted revenue and endowment earnings. We balanced the budget by cutting back wherever we could, but still kept our fundraising robust. This year we had more donors, more gifts and raised more money than in 2012.”
The division’s savings came from cutbacks in every department — from leaving vacant positions unfilled to reducing the university’s strategic communications budget.
“I am proud of the way our departments responded to this budget situation. In the end we cut over $1 million in expenses,” Wyrick said. “No one was happy about cutting our marketing budget or our professional development funds — or any of the large and small economies we had to make. But our staff understood what needed to be done, embraced the cost-cutting measures and continued to perform their jobs with the high level of professionalism they have always shown.”
In addition, Wyrick said that the university has also approved $13.3 million for the division’s 2014 fiscal year budget. Revenue for the division comes from several sources, including university funds from earned income distribution from the University of Arkansas Foundation, unrestricted gift funds, and sales and services provided through the various units of the Advancement Division to campus units and clients. As is the case with any budget, the university has the ability to modify its units’ budgets as needs or opportunities arise.
The university ended the FY13 fiscal year by raising over $108.4 million in private gift support.
“The FY14 budget is lean but able to support a robust fund-raising operation,” Wyrick said. “It will also be balanced when we close the books on FY14 a year from now.”
It is also anticipated that the university as a whole will end the 2013 fiscal year with a $30 million surplus and a liquidity of $160 million, the highest in its history.