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11:45 am
Wed January 26, 2011

Haeger lays out plan for dealing with budget cuts

Flagstaff, AZ – Read NAU President John Haeger's presentation"The Challenges Ahead: Fasten Your Seatbelts!"

Northern Arizona University's portion of the cuts adds up to 25-point-8 million dollars or about 20-percent of its current state appropriations. Yesterday, University President John Haeger told a standing room only crowd, the proposed budget reflects a major shift in Arizona's government.

"The state is beginning to pull back in terms of its support of public education at all levels, community college K-through 12 and universities and that puts the burden essentially on those that are using the services."

Along with the likelihood of higher tuition and fees, Haeger says other budget balancing ideas include reduction of one time expenditures and continued increases in efficiencies. Those ideas are already being implemented on campus, says Michael Stevenson, Dean of the College of Social and Behavioral Sciences.

"We're having lots of conversations about how we can continue to be very supportive of student success, continue to provide students with the kinds of experiences they expect at NAU and doing that more effectively, more efficiently with fewer resources because that certainly seems to be the pattern over the past several months. "

NAU is working to do more with less at a time of record enrollment. Graduate student Johan Bodaski attended yesterday's budget discussion and says he was perplexed by directives from state and federal officials to increase the number of college graduates.

"Having America be more of a leader in education but yet we're not appropriating monies in that way so it seems sort of paradoxical to me. "

And while Haeger says the state's investment in higher education will likely never return to former levels, he believes there are reasons to stay positive, saying as a $426 million operation, Northern Arizona University has a strong future.