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Campus unveils revenue-driven budget that cuts more than $20M from academic, research, administrative divisions

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The campus has unveiled its response to an imposing financial crisis with its 2017-18 budget, highlighted by more than $20 million in cuts to academic, research and administrative expenses.

UC Berkeley administration touted a model that relies on revenue generation — which makes up 52 percent of the gap between a $110 million budget deficit and the goal of a $57 million deficit.

The campus intends on raising about $27.6 million through millions of dollars in private gifts and “new or expanded academic programming in University Extension, Summer Sessions, Concurrent Enrollment, Self Supporting Graduate Professional Degree Programs, and via Professional Degree Supplemental Tuition,” according to the Office of the Vice Chancellor Chief Financial Officer.

Despite the focus on academic programming as a revenue source, nearly 50 percent of campus’s planned expense reductions come in academic and research divisions, according to the Office of the VCCFO.

“We also are as opposed to the across the board approach that we had last year,” said Chancellor Carol Christ in a June sit-down with The Daily Californian. “We’re very differential in our cuts — we’re protecting instruction.”

The cuts include:

  • about $3.6 million from the campus’s academic division, which includes the campus’s College of Letters and Science, Haas School of Business, College of Engineering, UC Berkeley School of Law and other academic schools across campus.
  • almost $3.7 million from academic research units, research administrative units and research museum and field stations.
  • approximately $13 million in campus administrative division cuts, which includes Cal Athletics, Cal Performances, Berkeley Art Museum and Pacific Film Archive, UC Berkeley Real Estate, the campus Division of Equity & Inclusion and campus Division of Student Affairs.


“All campus units, including central administration, will need to look for ways to de-prioritize activities and reduce the scope of what we are doing,” Christ wrote in a March 2017 memo addressed to campus division leaders.

Christ, then-interim executive vice chancellor and provost, identified philanthropy as “the most promising funding source for UC Berkeley in the years ahead.”

The Office of the VCCFO, citing a draft campus 10-year comprehensive capital plan, also notes that “UC Berkeley’s 10-year capital needs exceed projected financial capacity,” with a funding gap between projected capital needs and potential funding of $2 billion.

Along with a “campus dashboard” overview of systemwide budget allocations, the Office of the VCCFO also released “divisional dashboards” drafted in Spring 2017 which contain “key financial information for each school, college, and auxiliary unit” within individual campus divisions.

Listed within the divisional dashboards are budget improvement targets, “the amount by which a division must improve its net operating budget FY2016-17 and FY2017-18” — the budgetary improvement targets were “non-negotiable” and established in concert with the University of California Office of the President.

For example, Cal Athletics — which ran an almost $22 million deficit in fiscal year 2016 and holds the most debt of any athletic department in the United States as of 2017 — is mandated to reduce its budget deficit by $4.652 million over the next fiscal year, according to the Cal Athletics divisional budget dashboard.

Cal Athletics identifies various potential long-term strategies to raise revenues and reduce expenses, including “the relocation of track and soccer programs — if continued — to a different location and allowing the campus to construct residential housing at Edwards Stadium” and making “reductions in program scope” up to $8 million per year.

The UC Berkeley School of Law’s net operating budget surplus is targeted to increase by $1.963 million, according to a draft version of Berkeley Law’s divisional budget dashboard. Among other strategies, Berkeley Law plans to lower operating expenses by $2 million and reduce the number of associate deans from six to three, while shifting philanthropic support to part of its “core operations.”

Berkeley Law’s budget dashboard also notes that among other factors the school’s fall in the U.S. News & World Report’s “Best Law School” rankings “have required larger reductions for (Berkeley) Law in (fiscal year) 2018.”

The campus College of Chemistry, according to a draft version of the college’s budget dashboard, notes that it will meet its $665,000 budget improvement target “primarily through revenue generation.” One strategy the College of Chemistry identifies is “starting plans for a 180,000 sq. ft. interdisciplinary building with the Colleges of Engineering and Natural Resources.”

A number of programs and items were excluded from consideration in this year’s budget deficit reductions, including most academic salaries and benefits, scholarships and fellowships, funding of the Student Health Insurance Program and the campus’s Sexual Harassment Prevention Program.

Corrections: Due to misinformation from the campus, a previous version of this article stated there were approximately $7.6 million in campus administrative division cuts, $3.8 million in research division cuts and $3.7 million in academic division cuts in the campus's 2018 fiscal year budget. In fact, there are approximately $13 million in cuts to campus administrative divisions, $3.7 million in research division cuts and $3.6 million in academic division cuts in the budget.
Contact The Daily Californian news staff at [email protected].

AUGUST 14, 2017