CSU governors invest $5 million in Pueblo campus

The board of governors for the Colorado State University system has voted unanimously to approve a $5 million investment in the university’s Pueblo campus to help it weather financial challenges.

The support will provide CSU-Pueblo with the means to balance the university budget during the current fiscal year, which ends June 30. The institution experienced a budget shortfall after a drop in enrollment last year. The university, which had budgeted for a 7 percent to 9 percent increase in enrollment for the 2013-14 academic year, determined in October that enrollment had decreased 2.7 percent. Tuition, student fees and state funding tied to enrollment account for 95 percent of the revenue used for education and general operations at CSU-Pueblo.

“CSU-Pueblo has a vital mission, and this investment by the CSU System provides a financial bridge so that the campus can focus on building a brighter future for current and future students,´ said Dorothy Horrell, chairwoman of the board of governors, in a media statement. “President Lesley Di Mare and the campus community are taking the right steps – though difficult – to put CSU-Pueblo on strong financial footing and to fix the structural imbalance between revenues and expenses.”

CSU-Pueblo will proceed with plans to reduce expenses by $3.3 million for the 2014-15 fiscal year. Nineteen vacant positions across the university have been eliminated as a cost-saving measure, and an additional 22 filled positions also will be eliminated. Affected employees have been notified and will be able to remain in their positions until June 30. No tenured faculty positions have been eliminated.

The board will consider additional investments and take a more detailed look at CSU-Pueblo’s proposed 2014-15 budget during its spring meeting, when the university will have a fuller sense of enrollment projections for the upcoming academic year. Further declines in enrollment at CSU-Pueblo next year could create additional budget challenges.

The board also encouraged continued consideration of strategies to leverage other system resources to assist CSU-Pueblo in an effort to assure the campus’s growth in quality, cost-effective educational programs.

“This investment from the CSU system will give us the time we need to create a balanced budget for the upcoming fiscal year and to craft a long-term strategy to return CSU-Pueblo to financial health,” Di Mare said in the media statement. “While we must continue with our plan to reduce expenses, we are aggressively pursuing strategies to create new revenues streams, boost enrollment and gain operational efficiencies through partnerships with our sister institutions in the CSU system.”

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