Originally created 10/06/04

University provost asks for worst-case budget



ATHENS, Ga. - University of Georgia Provost Arnett Mace has asked UGA deans and vice presidents to prepare what he considers a worst-case scenario budget, a spending plan that triples the cuts he called for last month.

Dr. Mace in September ordered academic heads to chop $5.2 million from budgets to help offset a $16.3 million cut mandated in August by Gov. Sonny Perdue.

Administrators said then they were banking on a 10 percent tuition increase to cover an additional $4.6 million of the mandated cut and likely would turn to the UGA Research Foundation and auxiliary services, such as parking, for the remainder.

A 10 percent rise in tuition means in-state students at the state's four research institutions, such as UGA, would pay $337 more per year. Last week, Dr. Mace asked officials to consider a second plan - one that doesn't include a tuition increase, which would have to be approved by the state Board of Regents. The regents, who oversee the 34-campus university system, are expected to make a decision on any increase at their next meeting, Tuesday and Wednesday in Atlanta.

"We're in a very, very fluid situation that's not going to be resolved until after the board (of regents) meeting and maybe after that," Dr. Mace said, adding that he hopes Mr. Perdue during the coming week will change how the cuts are being implemented.

Planning for no tuition increase, Dr. Mace advised, is a worst-case scenario that would mean trimming of teaching assistantships and operating and travel expenses.

"We don't think that any of those things are going to happen, but, on the other hand, we have the responsibility to be prepared," he said.

UGA officials have been crunching numbers since August, when Mr. Perdue ordered $179 million in cuts from all state agencies. The trims at UGA, $12.8 million of which target instruction, are part of $68.7 million being pared from the University System.

Mr. Perdue on Saturday met at his mansion with 31 student leaders from throughout the system. The students sought an explanation for the $68.7 million in cuts.

Mallory Grebel, the vice president of UGA's student government, said the governor wasn't receptive at the outset of the meeting, but after three hours of conversation he appeared willing to consider student suggestions.