CCU trims $4 million, 15 jobs from school budget

Conway, SC - CONWAY, SC (WMBF) - Budget woes at Coastal Carolina University have forced school officials to trim nearly $4 million from next year's proposed budget, resulting in a number of financial and staffing changes.

The Coastal Carolina University Board of Trustees met for its quarterly meeting Friday and discussed how the university will operate with only $11 million from the state. The cut in state appropriations, down from $16.5 million three years ago, has the board bracing for the worst.

"The last few years have been very difficult," said Coastal Carolina University President Dr. David DeCenzo. "We've tightened the belt as best we could, but we cannot pass these costs directly onto our students."

Of the $4 million cut from the budget, 56 percent has been classified as "administrative cuts." Trimming administrative corners has allowed university administration to take out inefficiencies and as much overhead as possible. The areas, DeCenzo stressed, are not directly connected to the student body.

While it's business as usual in the classroom next year, DeCenzo said the cuts will be affected the amount of staff on campus. Administrators have resorted to cutting 15-20 staff positions, but are anticipating the hiring of 44 faculty members next year.

"I've had some people say, 'Well why are we hiring when we're looking at cuts?' The reality is, we're going to have record enrollment next year, so I've got to have the faculty," DeCenzo explained.

Positions on the chopping block vary across the board. Those who have been let go from their positions at Coastal Carolina will be notified by administrators next week.

"As one of the larger employers in the area, I didn't want to compound a situation by creating even further difficulty in the community," said DeCenzo, adding about 86 percent of the university's total operating budget is in personnel costs.

DeCenzo said as another tough budget year looms for the Conway-based school, it's prepping for its student population to explode. He expects to see a 2.5 to 4 percent enrollment increase for the fall semester, bringing student enrollment to 9,000.

Approximately 8,000 students from 45 states and 38 countries are currently enrolled at Coastal Carolina University, located off of US-501 in Conway. The school offers bachelor's degrees in 42 majors and 37 undergraduate programs.

School officials also announced a tuition increase for in-state and out-of-state students in February. Students who are residents of South Carolina will see a 5 percent tuition hike for the 2010-2011 school year, while those attending the institution from out of state will may 8 percent more per semester.

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