Mid-Year Address Looks At UM's Financial Situation - ABC FOX MONTANA NEWS, WEATHER, SPORTS - KTMF/KWYB

Mid-Year Address Looks At UM's Financial Situation

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MISSOULA -

While University of Montana administrators are optimistic more students will enroll next semester, they're still looking at areas to make cuts. The university's finances were the main topic of discussion at UM president Royce Engstrom's mid-year address.

Optimistic is the word used to describe how University of Montana administrators feel about the next school year's enrollment numbers, as they deal with a $6 million budget shortfall for the 2014 fiscal year.

"We are very encouraged in what's happening in enrollment cycle, but it's way to early to say anything infinitively," Engstrom said.

The shortfall boils down to a drop in enrollment numbers, especially from out-of-state students. Engstrom said a huge portion of the university's spending depends on enrollment.

"The idea is that we need to adjust our budget to size of the student body we serve today. Everyone working with one another to identify areas to make cuts," Engstrom said.

Right now, a hiring freeze has been put on any open positions at UM. Administrators are trying to decide if any of those positions should be cut, and trying to find new sources of revenue. The university is also cutting back on areas in the administrative office, with two-positions already cut.

"The fact is we are serving fewer students today then a few years ago, and we need to adjust our workforce accordingly," Engstrom said.

More staff was hired during an enrollment boom a few years back, and since enrollment numbers have dropped, Engstrom said the university has been left with more staff than is needed.

"We are working on our enrollment very diligently. We've put in place quite a few steps that will play out in immediate sense in this recruiting cycle," Engstrom said.

Engstrom said UM is putting more money into its marketing and recruitment efforts. Engstrom and other leaders just got back from the "We Are Montana Tour," in which they met with alumni, students, and legislators across the state. He said administrators also revamped the website and facebook to increase web activity.

"We must invest more heavily in recruitment and marketing to let world out there know about the great things happening at UM.

Engstrom said a group is also looking into ways to improve curriculum at the university.

 

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