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University leaders unveil next year’s budget

Members of Northeastern’s senior leadership team gave a series of presentations yesterday outlining the university’s fiscal year 2012 budget, which takes effect on July 1. The university’s budget supports the institution’s broad range of global teaching and research activities.

The cost of attending Northeastern as an undergraduate — which includes tuition, fees and housing costs — will increase by 3.9 percent next year. Factoring in millions of dollars provided to students and their families in financial aid, the net increase in undergraduate cost of attendance will be 2.9 percent.

During yesterday’s Faculty Senate meeting, Provost Stephen Director outlined many of the university’s priorities. Those include investments in graduate, professional and online degrees, adding tenured and tenure-track faculty, keeping tuition competitive, boosting student services, and conducting renovations and technology upgrades in several classrooms and university buildings.

The fiscal year 2012 budget also includes a salary compensation pool increase of 3 percent for faculty and 2.5 percent for administrative staff.

“The university is increasing its momentum in terms of investing in various academic programs, recruiting the best students, increasing the faculty size, improving our research portfolio, and investing in our infrastructure,” Director said.

As examples of momentum, Director cited the record number of applications for undergraduate admission and a strong increase in federal research awards.

Jack McCarthy, senior vice president for administration and finance, said the university is in strong financial shape and gave several examples. McCarthy mentioned substantial interest in graduate and professional programs, improved fundraising, and ongoing efforts to achieve operating efficiencies. He also noted positive endowment performance and successful efforts to refinance and reduce the university’s long-term debt.

“Being tuition dependent, in the current [economic] climate, is actually one of our real strengths,” McCarthy added. “In the last few years, universities that have depended on their endowments have suffered most severely. But we’ve flourished in that time.”