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University Budget Numbers Presented to Faculty and Student Leaders

As part of a comprehensive presentation on the next fiscal year’s budget, Northeastern University administrators announced that tuition, fees and on-campus housing costs will increase by 3.9 percent next year.

The university’s budget was outlined on Wednesday at the Faculty Senate meeting and later for student government leaders. Financial aid will also rise by $11.3 next year—to almost $200 million annually—resulting in a net tuition increase of 2.5 percent.

“We want to continue to maintain the momentum that Northeastern has developed over the last couple of years,” said Provost Stephen Director at the Faculty Senate meeting. “That is what ultimately drives our budget decisions.”

Illustrating how costs relate directly to the university’s academic mission, Director cited as an example the university’s ongoing push to maintain small class sizes, which is beneficial to student learning and attractive to current and prospective faculty. Other key budgetary factors discussed on Wednesday include controlling operating costs, adding tenure-line faculty, investing in critical infrastructure needs, expanding technology in the classroom, keeping the library open 24/7, and holding constant the size of the freshman class enrollment

Jack McCarthy, Senior Vice President for Administration and Finance, provided pie charts that outline the university’s primary expenditures. As a labor-intensive enterprise, McCarthy noted that approximately half of the university’s operating budget is comprised of faculty and staff compensation and benefits.

The FY11 budget includes a salary increase pool of 3 percent for faculty and 2.5 percent for staff. Some faculty members commented that this was good news given the current economic climate.

McCarthy also discussed the university’s successful efforts to refinance a significant portion of its existing debt, a move he said would “bring greater stability to our overall financial position.” As a result, Moody’s recently upgraded the university’s credit rating to “A2 with a stable outlook,” compared to a negative outlook last year.

The university’s annual operating budget for fiscal 2011 will be approximately $940 million including financial aid.

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