Extra $23M from state, strong enrollment leaves UMass Amherst in healthy position

  • The University of Massachusetts Amherst campus. Courtesy Photo/Massachusetts Office of Travel & Tourism

Staff Writer
Published: 10/3/2022 12:22:33 PM

AMHERST — Significant financial support from the Legislature and solid student enrollment means operations at the University of Massachusetts are returning to pre-pandemic levels, while at the same time allowing $60 million in building projects to be pursued on the Amherst campus.

A recent memo from Andrew Mangels, vice chancellor for administration and finance, outlines how the Legislature approving an appropriation that is $23 million above collective bargaining costs is putting the campus in a good position this academic year.

“This increase and continued support from the state highlight the value the commonwealth places on a strong and vibrant flagship university,” Mangels wrote in the Sept. 23 communication. “In addition, strong enrollment and the first in-state undergraduate tuition increase in three years have produced net undergraduate and graduate tuition growth of $13 million.”

The letter, which details other revenue increases in the fiscal year 2023 budget, notes that $9 million is going toward a 1.5% operating margin in the budget, which will help the university’s bond rating, and gets the campus budget closer to the 2% operating margin mandated by 2025 by the board of trustees.

The fiscal year 2023 budget, which covers the period from July 1, 2022 to June 30, 2023, was projected at $1.48 billion, including salaries, fringe benefits, non-personnel expenses and capital costs. Revenues are made up of tuition, housing and dining, the state appropriation, research grants, and investments and gifts.

Mangels writes that the situation at UMass offers the flexibility to pursue strategic initiatives, while dealing with existing and anticipated inflation.

Among the infrastructure projects being sought are construction of a new building for the Center for Early Education and Care, renovation of Flint Labs for classroom and student success programming, enhancing the sustainability of buildings already approved, and consolidating student disability services and programs in Goodell Hall.

UMass will also confront a deferred maintenance backlog estimated at $1.2 billion.

The memo spells out how the university achieved a $105 million operating margin surplus during fiscal year 2022, done through historically high fundraising for the university, one-time Higher Education Emergency Relief Fund federal money and various expense reductions, many of which were associated with positions left unfilled due to the tight labor market.

Scott Merzbach can be reached at smerzbach@gazettenet.com.


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