Fiscal Year 2015–2016 Budget Overview
The final state budget as proposed by Gov. Bill Haslam and approved by the General Assembly included a reduction adjustment in state funding for MTSU under the Tennessee Higher Education Commission (THEC) Outcomes-Based Funding Formula and additional enhancement funds for improvements under the formula. The net effect was a small state appropriation increase for our University.
The new budget for this fiscal year also included funds for higher education employee salary increases that would equate to a 1.5 percent salary pool. As in previous years, the state appropriation will not fully fund higher education salary increases—meaning institutions themselves will be required to fund a portion of the increase. At the June quarterly meeting of the Tennessee Board of Regents (TBR), a tuition increase was approved to fund the institutions’ portion of the 1.5 percent salary pool plus more funds to increase the pool to 2 percent. The state budget also included capital maintenance funds for MTSU for Central Plant controls updates.
The TBR approved a 3.1 percent tuition increase for MTSU. New funds from this increase will cover certain inflationary costs and the University’s portion of the salary increase and provide funds for faculty promotion salary increases and efforts to ensure that facilities, technology, and resources are available to support student success.
In June, the TBR also approved a system compensation strategy that institutions will use to submit proposed salary increases from the 2 percent salary pool for consideration by the board at its September quarterly meeting. We have proposed to TBR a cost-of-livingadjustment strategy for an across-the-board salary increase for eligible MTSU employees using the two percent pool of funds.
The salary increase will be distributed to all unrestricted and restricted regular full-time and part-time benefit eligible employees and participants in the post retirement service program on the payroll as of June 30, 2015. Each eligible employee will receive an increase equal to two percent of their June 30, 2015, salary or $750, whichever is greater. The minimum payment will be prorated for part-time employees. These increases will not apply to adjunct faculty, temporary employees, graduate assistants, or student workers.
If approved by the TBR at its September quarterly meeting, increases will be effective in the October pay period but will include retroactive pay to July 1, 2015. If grant funding is available, increases for grant employees will be charged to the appropriate grant; increases for auxiliary employees will come from auxiliary revenues.
The state legislation again provided funding to match eligible employees’ deferrals in the 401(k) plan, which may be between $20 and $50 per month, and for longevity payments at $100 per year of creditable service up to a maximum number of 30 years.
MTSU leadership will again meet with the TBR leadership this fall to discuss budget development processes and other issues of interest. The purpose is to communicate the successes, challenges, and needs of MTSU so board leadership can properly convey those matters to various stakeholders including regents, legislators, and state administrators. We will explain the steps taken to implement our student success programs to achieve the goals of the Complete College Tennessee Act, the Drive to 55 initiative, and the Tennessee Promise, which allows qualified students to attend community colleges free of charge beginning this fall.