May 10, 2018
Dear Faculty and Staff,
Seattle University’s Board of Trustees approved the FY19 budget last week. The $215.2 million budget, which covers July 1, 2018, to June 30, 2019, represents a 2.4 percent increase over our current year’s budget.
As I noted in my previous update, I was pleased with the level of collaboration that went into helping us balance the budget while investing additional resources in important university priorities such as compensation, student financial aid and new academic programs and initiatives.
More than $10 million in new funding was allocated for FY19, with $5.6 million going toward compensation and benefits for faculty and staff. This includes a wage pool merit pay increase of 2.5 percent for non-law faculty and staff and 2.25 percent for law school faculty and staff, with additional resources for other adjustments including promotions and for increasing the minimum salary levels for both non-tenure-track full-time and per-course, or part-time, faculty. While I am pleased that we are able to invest more in our faculty and staff, I am also mindful that we have more work to do as we address the reality that we are situated in a city and region where it is becoming ever more expensive to live.
The FY19 budget also includes new funding to support a number of university programs and initiatives. This includes additional investments to support the new master’s program in Mechanical Engineering, the transition to the Doctorate of Nursing Practice program, the growth in Computer Science and, pending final approval, a select number of fully online graduate programs to be offered by the Albers School of Business and Economics in partnership with an Online Program Manager. It also includes funds for a new position to help develop more internship opportunities for students in the College of Arts and Sciences and two additional admissions officers focused on outreach to transfer students, a group for which we are seeing increased competition.
The FY19 budget also provides new funding for programs and activities to support engagement and retention of undergraduate students, including Core course enhancements, academic department outreach funding and increased funding for the Writing Center.
Additional support for the Office of Diversity and Inclusion is also provided in the FY19 budget to help advance the critical work we are doing in that regard, as well as a number of processes and systems that are key to our operational success.
Our total enrollment is projected to be approximately 7,300, which includes 995 first-time-in-college students, 430 transfers, roughly 2,000 graduate students and 630 law students. This is a slight increase over enrollment for the current year.
The FY19 budget continues our commitment to addressing affordability by keeping tuition increases modest while providing additional funding for student aid. For the fourth consecutive year, we are holding the undergraduate tuition increase to four percent or below. Tuition increases range from zero to 5.2 percent for graduate students and 3.4 percent for law students. Financial aid will increase by six percent for undergraduates. Total aid for all students will increase by eight percent, or $6.7 million, for a total of more than $90 million.
While balancing the FY19 budget required some work and difficult choices, and the development of our annual budget continues to be challenging, I am encouraged that we are fundamentally a strong university. Furthermore, as we move deeper into a multi-year approach to financial planning over the next few years, I am confident we will benefit from having more information about where we stand as a university. We then can move forward in the best ways possible to fulfill our mission, support our students and be better positioned to get beyond the ups and downs of annual budgeting.
You can find additional information on the budget here. I look forward to sharing more with you about the FY19 budget as part of the President’s Forum May 17. Connie Kanter, our chief financial officer and senior vice president for finance and business affairs, will be holding CFO Chat on the budget May 29. I also appreciate Interim Provost Bob Dullea holding a budget forum for Academic Affairs.
As we move into the final weeks of the academic year, may the good work we do together be blessed and may we continue to make a positive impact in the lives of our students.
Stephen V. Sundborg, S.J.