UI falls below State Board’s reserves target

After experiencing a $21 million loss, the University of Idaho fell below the Idaho State Board of Education’s target reserve rates of 5 percent.

UI is among two public Idaho four-year universities that didn’t meet the reserve target rate, said Carson Howell, chief financial officer for the State Board at its Thursday meeting in Boise.

UI fell to negative 1.6 percent, while Boise State reserves sat at 3.75 percent. Idaho State University and Lewis-Clark State College both met the targets at 5.7 and 5.1 percent, respectively.

Reserves can be used to “bridge uneven cash flows,” such as budget reductions or enrollment fluctuations, materials provided to the board show.

Brian Foisy, UI Vice President of Finance and Administration, told the board the operating loss was caused in part by “continuing enrollment challenges.” Fall enrollment declined 2.6 percent and resident undergraduate enrollment fell 3.7 percent.

“That has resulted in actual revenue being lower than projected revenue,” Foisy said, adding that unexpected costs also factored in.

Foisy said the university is considering a one-time base budget reduction of $4 million, effective July 1 of the coming fiscal year. Another $4 million cut will be implemented over the next two years. The goal is to curtail that $21 million loss’ impact over time, he said.

Foisy told the UI Faculty Senate in late October the university needed to change its spending practices and that it would be moving towards a “strategic hiring plan” in which some positions may not be filled when vacated.

Kyle Pfannenstiel can be reached at arg-news@uidaho.edu

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