Federal stimulus funds help offset state budget cuts

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March 11, 2009

11:51 PM

The College of William and Mary will receive approximately $3.8 million in federal stimulus funds for the next year in order to reduce the effects from the $3.9 million in state budget cuts.

The funds come from money provided to the Commonwealth of Virginia as part of the federal stimulus package recently signed by President Barack Obama.

Sam Jones, the College’s Vice President for Finance, said he considers the package helpful, but the budget cuts will still carry a significant impact.

“It is important to note that these are one-time funds and so it only allows the College to defer the impact of the base reduction in state support,” Jones said.

The federal funds allocation will defer the impact of a $3.9 million reduction in state support that would have come in the 2010 fiscal year, which begins July 1.

“At best, a similar amount of federal funds will be provided in fiscal year 2011. After that, we will have to deal with the loss in state support in fiscal year 2012,” Jones said. “So, having the federal funds available allows us two years to plan for a permanent loss of state funds.”

Jones said funds from the federal stimulus package will be used to make up for what was cut by the state, but it is difficult to assess how the stimulus package will be used.

Economics professor David Feldman said the money is not a long-term solution.

“Washington is aware that states are in trouble. Part of the stimulus is designed to offset budget trouble at the state level,” Feldman said. “But the stimulus is temporary. We must still deal with cuts to our base budget.”

Other Virginia public universities, including community colleges, will receive similar stimulus packages to deal with their budget cuts.

“Statewide, just over $126 million in federal funds are allocated to higher education, offsetting about 97 percent of the fiscal year 2010 incremental reduction in state support,” Jones said.

The state also allocated $660,000 for the Virginia Institute of Marine Science, which is funded separately by the state but falls under the College’s administrative umbrella.

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