USM Prepares for cuts

By Mike McDaniel - bio | email | Twitter

HATTIESBURG, MS (WDAM) - The budget at the University of Southern Mississippi is about the become a little dry. The 2011 fiscal year is expected to be up to $12 million short, leaving the university to take action.

"I think at this point we're just considering all the possibilities," said USM Provost Bob Lyman

Lyman says the current year is just about right on track with last year, but that's thanks in part to federal stimulus money which is about to go away, and with it, possibly academic programs, and it doesn't stop there.

"If we end up having to cut some academic programs, I think it would be inevitable that we would have to cut some personal associated with those programs," said Lyman.

That includes those with tenure. Lyman said programs will have to be evaluated based on criteria such as enrollment, demand, history, quality and reputation.

"Well, people are concerned of course, their career are at stake here," said Lyman.

Before any cuts are made recommendations will be made by the university's Academic Planning Group made up of faculty, staff and administrators as well as students.

"There will be a wide distribution of these recommendations and a lot of conversation here at usm about what programs might need to be trimmed., "said Lyman,  "I think if we do this in a targeted way, hopefully we will be able to select programs that will hurt the university less."

Lyman says the deficit comes as no surprise, and right now the cuts are only proposals. Lyman is looking for a tuition increase next year and should any faculty jobs be cut a years notice would be given.

More budget hearings are slated throughout August, and a final decision is expected by the first of September.

Only a sudden bloom in the budget could keep the university's pace moving.

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