Board to A-consider operating budget

By Federico Burlon

The Board of Trustees will discuss and approve the college’s operating budget for the 2007-2008 academic year. The proposed budget would set Macalester’s total income at $76,934,298.
The Finance Committee, due to weather conditions, will review via conference call a draft of the budget that was submitted two weeks ago (see brief, page 2). The committee’s recommendations will be discussed at the afternoon board meeting, according to David Wheaton, vice president for administration and treasurer.

The proposed budget includes an increased tuition income, which at $61,605,577, would be an 8.3 percent increase from last year’s tuition revenue. Of the tuition income, $26,737,000 will be directed towards students’ financial aid. This number is a 6.4 percent increase from the current academic year, meaning the college is planning to allocate more money towards student financial aid next year.
On-campus programs to benefit from the budget increase include study abroad and proposed areas of academic concentration including Middle Eastern Studies, Islamic Studies and Chinese and student services, Wheaton said.
The proposed budget would enable the College to create spaces for up to 260 students to study abroad each academic year.
Taking the number of faculty leaving into account, there is only one new faculty position in the budget for the upcoming academic year.
The Program Budget, which funds departments such as Academic Affairs (which includes the Library and Media Services), Admissions and Financial Aid, and Student Affairs and Athletics, will see a five percent increase. According to Wheaton, the majority of this budget increase will be allotted to the Provost, the Dean of Students, Admissions Director, Advancement Director, and to the Vice President For Administration and Treasurer.

“We put more dollars in the library because their materials, their serials and books’ costs are going up like crazy,” Wheaton said.
The Board of Trustees has the final say in the budget’s approval. Wheaton first presents a recommended budget to the Finance Committee of Trustees, who then make recommendations to the board itself. The committee will then decide if it will approve the budget.