University to invest more than $100 million in academic initiatives by fiscal year 2019

After years of spending cuts and last year’s tuition increase, Ohio University’s administration has found over $100 million in the budget to invest over the next seven years.

The proposal would provide seed funding for new academic programs, endowed professorships, new academic and administrative infrastructure, community-building initiatives, student programs and scholarships.

OU President Roderick McDavis presented the plan at the 2012 Faculty and Staff Convocation Aug. 28, and it was reiterated at the OU Board of Trustees meetings last week.

“This initiative will improve our academic quality by increasing endowed professorships, scholarships to address accessibility, new academic programs, student success programs, community outreach, and critical system infrastructure investment,” McDavis said at The Convo.

The majority of the $108.2 million — generated between fiscal years 2011 and 2019 — will come from revenue over-attainment and investment income, but $32.7 million will also be taken from unused funds in the General Fund and General Fee, according to information shown at the Board of Trustees meeting.

The carryover in the General Fund and General Fee is produced by OU’s policy of only budgeting 98 percent of revenues to avoid problems if estimations are incorrect, said Stephen Golding, vice president for Finance and Administration.

Now, the university will use the extra 2 percent and invest it. However, certain programs also create more revenue than they use, Golding said.

“We actually, over the last several years, have had some revenues that have been surplus revenues that we’ve set aside,” Golding said. “Over-attainment of revenues from our eLearning, over-attainment of tuition dollars that were not budgeted out to the colleges, ... they were some other incomes earned just off the variety of activities that we do within the institution.”

The one-time funds will be divided up between the different investment areas. In total, $24.7 million will go toward creating endowed professorships, and $25.4 million more will create new scholarships, according to the presentation to the OU Board of Trustees.

OU projects it will invest $2.9 million during the current fiscal year.

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