rabble wrote:Who the hell told you it was financially well off? What freaking standards are you using?
The fact the the university was able to squeeze out an extra half a billion plus for future projects?
I don't think that is wrong, but they managed to save much more than small change.
Some of the money is indeed savings of one type or another, but the "for future projects" is a rather fuzzy way of wording the bulk of the funds we're talking about. Funds for various kinds of projects that can take more than one fiscal year to complete--ranging from building repair to international library acquisitions--are handled through a different process from, for example, buying a chair for an office. The total amount that is projected to be spent has to be "encumbered" first, and that encumberance has to be done in a single fiscal year, which typically puts that budget line in the red. The money is still there, technically, but it has been spoken for, and the university has to be ready to deliver it at a moment's notice, when the final invoice for the project is delivered. Budgets like this have to figured over more than one year, and need to balance but over a period of several years, not just in a single year. In other words, this isn't mad money set aside in case there is a sudden urge for a new gymnasium--this money has effectively been spent already.
All of this is laid out in every annual budget, and in the periodic budget report produced over the course of a fiscal year. The System administration understands this, the regents understand this, and the legislators should understand this. But it is to their political advantage right now to be obtuse. Or they are truly incompetent, to the point that they don't even recognize their incompetence.This article from Inside Higher Ed
talks about the situation as something normal across different university systems, if you are interested in comparison.