The deans at NC State have released a joint statement outlining the consequences of possible double-digit budget cuts and what steps they’re taking to reduce the impact:
NC State is planning for budget cuts in response to the state’s financial challenges. Although NC State is doing everything that it can to avoid affecting students’ progress towards their degrees, the university cannot absorb cuts without affecting classes and courses. We want to help students, their families, and the public to understand the extraordinary efforts we are taking to protect classes and courses, and, despite those efforts, the subsequent impacts of budget cuts.
The faculty, staff, and administration of the university are committed to providing excellent and affordable higher education. Included among the steps we are taking to protect students’ access to higher education are:
* Teaching more courses; some are volunteering to teach more classes, and some are replacing efforts in research, extension, and administration with instructional activities.
* Increasing available spaces in existing classes by moving some classes to larger rooms, and adding additional spaces to traditional courses via distance education technology.
* Replacing traditional courses with courses offered via distance education or in summer sessions.
* Replacing elective courses and seminars with additional sections of courses required by degree programs.
* Reducing non-teaching staff before teaching faculty and reducing or eliminating non-instructional expenditures.
Although our extraordinary efforts have rescued or created thousands of additional spaces for students, budget reductions will still have significant, negative consequences. Included among those consequences are:
* A net loss of hundreds of classes and thousands of available spaces for students; that is, the number of classes and available spaces lost to cuts will be much larger than the number rescued or restored.
* Reduced course availability, which will slow students’ progress towards their degrees, increase the number of semesters needed to graduate, and delay students’ entry into their careers.
* Larger classes, resulting in higher student/faculty ratios.
* Less student support for academic advising, scholarships and honors, study abroad, labs, field trips, library, security, recruitment, diversity, and other support services and enhancements.
* Increased costs to students in the form of distance education and summer school fees.
* Fewer opportunities for student research, and reductions or elimination of courses and seminars addressing advanced, emergent, or current topics.
* Reduced funding for graduate students, which will reduce our research productivity.
* Reduced faculty productivity in research, extension, and engagement activities, which ultimately lowers the national rankings of our academic programs.
We do not want to alarm students, their families, or the public—but we feel it is imperative that all stakeholders understand the extraordinary steps NC State is taking to mitigate budget cuts, and the consequences of budget cuts on the university.