UM Proposing $2 Million in Budget Cuts

By Beacon Staff

MISSOULA – The University of Montana is proposing about $2 million in budget cuts to deal with reduced funding, but President George Dennison says he doesn’t expect those cuts to directly affect students.

“We will concentrate those reductions in areas that won’t impact the classroom,” Dennison said.

UM administrators had hoped for more money from the state Legislature and a higher tuition increase to maintain services at the same level.

The Montana Board of Regents last month approved a 3 percent tuition increase, or $120 per year, for in-state students. Dennison had sought a 5 percent increase while Gov. Brian Schweitzer advocated freezing tuition for a third year.

Out-of-state students will see an 8.5 percent increase in their tuition.

Dennison noted that elected student leaders advocated the tuition increase out of concern for what cuts might be needed.

“If not for the student advocacy, there would probably not be a tuition increase at all,” Dennison said. “So we have to protect students” from these cuts.

UM administrators will cut travel and training budgets as well as nonacademic equipment and operating expenses, such as copy and fax machines and computers. There will also be less money for the retention of faculty and professors, but Dennison doesn’t anticipate any layoffs.

There are 19 students for every faculty member.

“We can’t afford to let that go up any higher,” he said.

Montana State University in Bozeman is looking at just over $1 million in budget cuts.

The regents must have the Montana university system budget completed by July 1.