Less than $500,000 in supplemental budget requests could be made by the University of Wyoming compared to millions of dollars requested in recent years.
While the UW Board of Trustees still need to approve the budget requests, the Trustee Budget Committee has suggested a draft with three items, only one of which requests additional state funding.
“It’s called financial reality,” Trustee President John MacPherson said. “We can’t afford to ask for more.”
The funding would be used to create a strategic enrollment management program, which would total about $475,000 in its current form.
“We have to help ourselves grow enrollment,” Vice President for Administration Bill Mai said. “We want to show (the Legislature) it is a top priority. It’s a very small budget request.”
An enrollment plan is a top need for the university, Trustee Mike Massie said.
“It answers some important questions regarding enrollment — what’s the cost for each additional student, how much capacity does the University of Wyoming have to accommodate more students, where should the students come from and what’s the best means of recruiting them,” Massie said.
To contrast the current suggested request of $475,000, UW’s 2015 supplemental budget requests totaled around $160 million. Most of the requests were for construction projects, including the required money to complete the Science Building.
“It’s certainly the smallest (request) in recent memory,” Institutional Communications Director Chad Baldwin says via email.
Allowing construction of a pharmacy at the Cheyenne Medical Clinic is another likely request. However, all of the funding would be found through internal sources and restructuring. No money would be requested from the Legislature.
Two other requests were also suggested during the trustees’ retreat earlier this month. The first is essentially redirecting already allocated funding.
“Priority one, which doesn’t carry any sort of financial request, pertains to asking the Legislature to make some adjustment to $10 million in matching funds it provided during the 2016 session,” Massie said. “The request is to … target $5 million of that $10 million specifically for oil and gas research. That was adopted.”
The second pertained to matching funds for UW Foundation gifts. The $1.15 million was meant to be used to match smaller donations. However, after discussions with Foundation President Ben Blalock, it was determined the money would already be used by the time the Legislative request could be approved, so the trustees tabled the request.