Next Year's Budget

To: All CSU employees

Re: Next Year's Budget

From: President Chris Markwood

Colleagues,

Gov. Nathan Deal signed a record $25 billion state budget last week that will be very good to Columbus State University.

Not only did the budget include money for salary increases, it included full formula funding for our enrollment, a healthy amount for maintenance and repairs, money for two major CSU projects, and funding for some new strategic priorities. We should all be pleased with the budget this year. If you see any members of our local legislative delegation, please thank them for their advocacy on our behalf; their support has been pivotal to our efforts.

Let me provide you with some details about our new budget, which will go into effect July 1.

First and foremost, the governor’s budget included $770,000 for merit increases. CSU added $374,000 to this funding to assure that total merit funding equaled 2% of all employees’ current salaries. Addressing faculty salaries was the No. 1 goal in our budget planning this year, so CSU added about $435,000 to the state allocation to address needs from our ongoing salary study and to help reach our goal of elevating most faculty members’ salary up to at least 90% of the median salary for others in their field/rank. CSU had the flexibility to add these additional dollars because of tuition increases and enrollment growth two years ago (which are the numbers used in state budget planning.)

That means CSU will spend nearly $1.6 million dollars next year augmenting staff and faculty salaries. Yes, there is still work to be done, but I am proud we were able to address this priority.

I am also proud that our budget next year addresses our values, and the priorities previously agreed upon after lots of discussion on campus.

New funding from enrollment growth will allow us to add seven new faculty lines in high-growth areas such as cybersecurity, education and nursing. We also will be hiring two additional academic advisors, a student life development specialist, and adding $300,000 to support tutoring and counseling efforts.

Responding to needs identified in our campus climate survey and strategic planning process, we also will be adding an inclusion and equity officer next year, a leadership specialist, two new student recruiters, and increased university marketing efforts.

As we work through the details of a new strategic plan for the rest of this calendar year, I expect us to further align budget priorities with strategic goals. One of those goals will have to be sustained enrollment growth, This budget shows the real benefit to our bottom line when we grow our student enrollment at CSU. We are addressing this need in the future in a variety of ways, but we will need to continue spreading the notion that each and every one of us plays an important role in attracting, retaining and graduating our students.

Thank you for all you already do for students, our community, and for each other.