Va. colleges avoid further budget cuts

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March 15, 2011

1:11 AM

The Virginia General Assembly adjourned its annual legislative meeting Feb. 27 after finalizing revisions to the commonwealth’s 2010-2012 budget. This has made changes in salaries, retirement funds and in-state student requirements that will impact the College of William and Mary.

“This year marked a change for the General Assembly, which did not impose further cuts on higher education funding for the first time since 2008, although it left a $10 million reduction in place from last year,” College President Taylor Reveley said in an email to the College community.
“This cut has yet to be distributed among the state schools. We do not know when the cut will come or what our share might be.”
Most notable among the changes are revisions to the salaries and retirement funds of state employees to contribute five percent of their salary to their retirement funds in exchange for a five percent pay increase.

However, the change impacts only participants of the Virginia Retirement System, while those participating in the Optional Retirement Plan are left unaffected. According to Reveley, employees of the College are divided almost equally between the two plans.

“When it comes to salaries, this means that only some people at the College are in line for a raise,” Reveley said. “The fact that William & Mary employees as a whole have not received salary increases for three years makes any inequities, real or perceived, especially painful. We will work hard to ameliorate this situation if we can.”
Despite efforts by some representatives of the General Assembly, the College will not have to reduce its number of out-of-state undergraduates this coming year.

The Assembly’s plan originally called for a legislative reduction of the percentage of out-of-state students from 35 to 25 percent, but schools like the College and the University of Virginia softened the blow by agreeing to take on more in-state students in the next few years.

The General Assembly also approved an additional $900,000 to be used for projects at the College’s main campus and another $550,000 for the College’s Virginia Institute of Marine Science campus.

“This helps, though it may be reduced by William & Mary’s share of the yet undistributed $10 million cut to higher education just noted,” Reveley said.

According to Reveley, these budget revisions will not result in major change for the College as a whole.

“On balance, the General Assembly’s budget does little to change the basic calculus for next year,” he said. “Like other state institutions, William & Mary must still close a funding gap in FY 2012 that was covered this fiscal year by one-time federal stimulus dollars. For the main campus, this gap is $6.8 million.”

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