Dear Faculty and Staff,
I write today to report on the status of our current budget planning. While this past year was one of the most difficult we’ve faced together, we can now report a better financial outcome than predicted. Our Annual Fund, aided greatly by a trustee initiative at the May Board meeting, concluded the year above our estimates of this past winter. Enrollment and Financial Aid were on budget as were most other areas of operation. Perhaps the happiest surprise was that our endowment ended well above previous estimates, with a return of -16.4 percent as of June 30, up from the -30 percent we forecast last spring.
These results, and the work you all have done over the past year in helping the College reduce operating expenses, have allowed us to reconsider the planned furlough for the coming year, something we know would have been a significant hardship on all. While the financial situation of the College remains strained and the future is still uncertain, the necessity of this further sacrifice on the part of all faculty and staff is no longer as necessary as forecast last spring. Two Trustee committees, the Finance and Planning Committee and the Executive Committee, approved last week our recommendation that we eliminate the planned furlough through an increase in endowment spending for the current year. While we will also continue to examine and consider carefully any vacant position, we have achieved enough budget savings for the current year through the Voluntary Separation program that we do not anticipate any further budget-mandated staff layoffs.
My Administrative Council colleagues and I are uncommonly pleased to announce today these changes, approved in recent days by the Trustees. We owe our Trustees a debt of gratitude for moving swiftly to approve our recommendations so that we might announce them to you at the beginning of the academic year.
We will, of course, continue to review our long-term budget models with various groups in our campus governance structure, beginning with the College’s Budget Committee. The current economic environment remains unstable and difficult to predict, sufficiently so that we are not proposing any changes to previous estimates for revenue or expense savings from what we had projected for FY 2011. This means that all other key budget changes we made last spring will remain for now in place.
For background on this recent change and for past budget communications and details, please visit the Budget Documents section of this website.
Thank you, once again, for all you do to keep Carleton a leader among liberal arts colleges. We look forward to an exciting and productive academic year ahead.
President Robert A. Oden Jr.