[Editor’s Note: This story was updated on Feb. 12 to reflect a change in the funding being requested for UConn Health, from $12.6 million to $16.9 million.]
It is a good time to be a Husky. While there are many challenges ahead of us, there are also many opportunities for us to maintain our upward trajectory. We continue to be a source of pride for Connecticut and our nation.
This year, applications to UConn hit a historic record high of 56,800, exceeding even last year’s record-breaking number. This fabulous news helps illustrate how in-demand UConn is here in Connecticut, nationally, and globally – presenting new opportunities for us to attract and enroll increasing numbers of talented students to the university. We have a dynamic new CEO of the UConn Foundation who is leading aggressive fundraising efforts to support our students, faculty, and critical operations through private philanthropic dollars – with gifts like this, the largest ever received in UConn’s history, and many others. And thanks to the state removing its unpaid legacy costs from our budget, our faculty are even more competitive when seeking grant funding.
Another critical component of our success as an institution is the support we receive from the State of Connecticut. Today, the governor released his proposed state budget for the next fiscal year. The University is encouraged that it includes $90 million in bond-funded infrastructure investments proposed by the governor for Storrs and the regional campuses.
Specifically, the following bond authorizations are included in the governor’s proposal and are evidence of his commitment to supporting state-of-the art facilities and infrastructure that will help us to excel:
- $25 million for the design of a new science building and planning funds for the demolition of the Torrey Life Sciences Building.
- $20 million for renovations to the Gant Complex, which houses dozens of classrooms and labs.
- $12 million for the return of Hydrogen Hub funding.
- $25 million for deferred maintenance.
- $8.5 million for athletics facilities upgrades to remain compliant with Title IX.
If approved by the State Bond Commission, each project would have very positive impacts on our students, faculty, and overall mission.
With respect to the University’s appropriations, if enacted as written the proposed budget makes no changes to the fiscal year 2025 appropriation approved by the General Assembly last legislative session. Overall shortfalls remain at $70 million for UConn and $29 million for UConn Health in the next fiscal year.
Both deficits are substantial enough that the budget cuts required to close them will cause challenges to the University and impact our ability to carry out our missions as effectively as possible. Also, these shortfalls will grow if salary increases are negotiated for our employees in fiscal year 2025.
During this session of the General Assembly, we are seeking an additional $47.3 million for Storrs and $16.9 million for UConn Health to augment our own internal spending reductions and revenue enhancements to help close these deficits.
Over the last six years, UConn has implemented $113.3 million in cost savings and spending reductions; UConn Health has implemented $121.2 million while simultaneously increasing clinical revenues by $335 million during this time. We are committed to doing all we can to ensure operational efficiency, the maximization of every dollar, and increasing revenues.
During the current fiscal year, the state funds approximately 16% of the annual budgets for UConn and UConn Health, with the remaining 84% funded by tuition, fees, auxiliary revenue, grants and philanthropy, and self-generated clinical care revenue.
Keeping UConn and UConn Health fiscally healthy and vibrant allows both to provide an exceptional education to our students, conduct innovative and groundbreaking research, serve communities across the state, provide outstanding patient care, and fuel Connecticut’s economic growth by graduating the workforce of the future and having a $7.8 billion impact on Connecticut’s economy.
Investing in UConn and our students is an investment in Connecticut, its people, and its future.
In coming months, we look forward to working with the governor, the state Office of Policy and Management (OPM), and the General Assembly to help reduce our operating budget shortfalls and to increase UCONN 2000 funding for our facility needs, helping us protect and build on our successes and provide the greatest value possible to current and future generations of Huskies aspiring to enroll at UConn.