Flagstaff, AZ – Intro) The state's financial crisis has affected all levels of government and public education. At Northern Arizona University, the budget deficits have led to changes in the way things are done. Arizona Public Radio's Theresa Bierer has more.
TB) NAU President John Haeger says the university has to create long term strategies for higher education in the face of declining state revenues. 240 million has been cut from Arizona's universities in the past 2 years N-A-U has offset its share of the cuts through furloughs, federal stimulus funds and layoffs.
Haeger) "In a sense, we have cut strategically and we've reduced inefficiencies and we can continue down that road but there's a limit to what we can do ."
TB) Haeger discussed 3 budget options for the year ahead including a worse case scenario . He said more will be known after May 18th, when Arizonans vote on a temporary 1 cent sales tax which could raise about 1 billion dollars a year. the NAU president says a paradigm shift is underway in regard to funding of higher education.
Dr.Haeger) State funding may go up a little bit but it's not going to return to the levels it was at. And it just represents a kind of societal belief that education is no longer a social good. It's seen as a private good and those people accessing it should pay for it.
Haeger said It's important for the university to increase academic excellence, while at the same time containing costs. But it's doing so at a time of record enrollments, with a guarantee of decreased state funding.
In Flagstaff, for Arizona Public Radio, I'm Theresa Bierer