Fiscal Year 2017-2018 Legislative Update
April 28, 2017
Dear Faculty and Staff:
I write to provide an update on the outcome of the annual budgeting and legislative processes in Richmond. As you may recall last December, I shared information regarding Governor McAuliffe's amendments to the biennial budget prior to the 2017 General Assembly session. His proposed budget originally included a five percent general fund reduction for Virginia's public colleges and universities. However, during the General Assembly session, the House of Delegates and Senate agreed on a plan, which restored more than $20 million of the $76 million that the Governor had proposed to reduce in statewide higher education funding, thereby addressing the projected shortfall next fiscal year.
I am pleased to report that Governor Terry McAuliffe signed the amended biennial budget for 2016-2018. While Radford University will receive a reduction in FY 2017-2018 general fund support, there are three significant positive outcomes for the Radford family. First, the 2.6 percent reduction is less than previously anticipated; however, additional expenses have been placed on Radford University such as increasing employer healthcare costs; the University's portion of approved salary increases; and increasing employer retirement costs due to a statewide shortfall. Second, the approved budget provides $1.7 million to maintain our current level of undergraduate need-based financial aid, which is one of our top priorities as we continue to strengthen our recruitment and retention efforts and make higher education a reality for current and future generations of Highlanders.
Finally, the approved budget provides a three percent salary increase for eligible Radford University faculty and staff effective July 10, 2017. Specifically, the budget calls for a three percent salary increase for all classified staff and a two percent increase for all faculty (teaching and administrative and professional) with an additional one percent available to faculty of the seven institutions who did not receive bonuses or raises in the current fiscal year. You may recall that, due to decreased state revenues, the scheduled pay raise did not occur. However, several universities in the Commonwealth were able to self-fund a bonus or salary increase for their faculty and staff. Due to not providing a salary increase, Radford University was one of the seven institutions eligible for the additional one percent, thereby providing a three percent increase to the base salary for eligible faculty.
Because the success of our University and the Radford family largely depends on you, our dedicated faculty and staff, I know that you will join me in thanking the Governor and the General Assembly for their support. Like each of you, I sincerely appreciate the Governor and the General Assembly for acknowledging the need to evaluate and redirect funds in order to provide support for our University, our students, and this deserving salary increase. As the Commonwealth and regions across the state continue to focus on economic development efforts, the Radford family remains hopeful that this is an upward trend in economic prosperity.
For the upcoming fiscal year, it is critically important that we closely manage and monitor our budgets and expenses as we work diligently to offset recent enrollment declines with an increased focus on recruitment and retention. As your leader, I am confident that strong budget management in FY 2017-2018 will provide significant opportunities for future investments across our campus. Please know that I look forward to working with each of you in the months and years to come as we transform Radford into an innovative, premier university in the Commonwealth of Virginia and beyond with a keen focus on teaching, research and service.
With Highlander Pride,
Brian O. Hemphill, Ph.D.