Tuition increases ‘necessary’

Butler University President Jim Danko addressed finances and a tuition increase in his report about last week’s Board of Trustees retreat to Faculty Senate on Tuesday morning.

Danko said that while tuition increases are unpopular, they are necessary to the current budget.

“If we had a zero percent tuition increase, we’d be in the red about $2 million or $3 million,” Danko said.

Some student expectations and costs, such as advertising and promotions, have grown over the last few decades, and Danko said being tuition-dependent “in the 90 percent” portion of revenues is unhelpful.

He said other universities run with about half of their revenues from tuition.

“We’re just kind of skimming along,” he said. “It’s not like we have extra dollars to take on the issues we confront whether it’s facilities, increased salaries or a number of things that are hanging over us.

“You’re not sitting on sources of funds to cover in the event that you bet wrong [on admissions numbers].”

Danko said deciding on a size and vision for the university will help guide a financial plan in the future.

Understanding where the trustees stand is one of the first steps in formulating this, he said.

The group of deans, vice presidents and trustees met with strategy and leadership speaker Vijay Govindarajan, who Danko said focuses on looking to the future and selectively forgetting the past in a way that is productive.

From this and other discussions, Danko said the administration will develop summary statements for the entire university about tuition and other matters.

“We have a lot of notes and had very healthy discussions about where we need to move,” Danko said.

Danko said there will most likely be an announcement about the specific tuition increases in the next week.

He said the board’s decision concerning pay increases for faculty will not occur until its next meeting.