A $10 billion budget deficit at the state level means Texas Tech University must begin the painstaking process of cutting costs. Texas Tech officials say they don't plan on making any hasty decisions, but they're already talking about possible caps on enrollment, eliminating courses and even raising tuition if worst comes to worst.
At Texas Tech on Friday it was business as usual in the lecture halls. But across campus, school officials like Interim President Dr. Donald Haragan, are beginning some unusual business. The delicate balancing act of trying to sustain growth and momentum while slashing the budget at the same time. "You want to be sure that you don't take any action in the short term that is going to penalize you in the long term. If you're not looking further than the end of your nose, sometimes you do that," says Dr. Haragan.
Texas Tech, and all state agencies, have been asked to slice their spending by 7 to 9% because of an enormous state deficit. Tech is now mulling over its possibilities, but contrary to what has been reported by some media, Tech is not capping enrollment. "We're not at a point right now where we're going to be capping student enrollment," says Dr. Haragan.
Like any budget, there are two sides to Tech's: expenditures and revenue. Cutting expenditures is where Tech hopes to make up the most cash. Although nothing is set in stone, Tech is considering the elimination of courses that aren't attracting a lot of students, better use of technology - like more courses via the web and interactive TV and reducing the size of some departments, although the university is not anxious about cutting staff and won't if it doesn't have to.
On the revenue side of the coin, the only option is to raise tuition and fees. That's something they definitely want to avoid. "We're very interested in access for students. We're growing and we're doing that by recruiting some of the best students in the state. We don't want to lose that momentum. We certainly don't want to price ourselves out of the marketplace," says Dr. Haragan.
Dr. Haragan admits this won't be an easy problem to solve, but they plan on getting every department at the university involved in hopes of coming up with the best possible solutions. He points out that most of the construction projects at the university are already paid for. Only one, the experimental science building, is being paid for on tuition revenue bonds.