Story by Mary Bradley, Editor-in-Chief
The proposal for the 2015-16 budget cycle that will be presented to the Board of Regents Friday will include core priorities for the University, including salary adjustments based on a sustainable strategy.
The Cost-of-Living Adjustment, or COLA, is financial strategy that raises salary adjustments for the University based on cost of living increases, and is a topic of particular note for the budget cycle.
In an email to the University community, President Bob Davies stated that the recommendation he will take to the board is financially feasible for the University while achieving increases when fiscally appropriate.
Specifically, the recommendation will include two categories for base salary dollars. For salaries up to $25,000, the raise percent will be a 1.5 percent increase and for salaries above $25,000, the raise percent will be 1 percent.
Davies wrote that the University will look to continue to implement COLA increases annually in a way that is sustainable. This year’s increase will total approximately $930,000, with $730,000 in salaries and $200,000 in increased fringe benefits that will supplement an employee’s salary.
“Over the course of the year, I have discussed this with many groups and have received incredible and rich feedback,” Davies wrote. “Given our fiscal conditions for this year, and those projected for the years ahead, I believe this is the most prudent and fair plan that meets the objectives.”
In creating the budget proposal and developing a strategy for COLA, Davies wrote that there are three important factors that weigh in when making a final recommendation to the board:
- The University has a significant number of employees who earn less than $25,000, and increases would significantly affect them and their families.
- The University will need a plan that treats everyone equitability.
- There will need to be a system that is sustainable not only for 2015-16, but for following years, as salaries are recurring costs.
Other budget priorities include increasing presidential scholarships from 10 to 20, expanding the Commonwealth Honors Academy to allow approximately 20 additional students, continuing funding of capital renewal and replacement of 5 percent building depreciation, recurring funding for the Jones Oral Communications Center, start-up funding for the proposed Honors College and adding additional undergraduate recruitment staff.
Additionally, the University will look to increase support for diversity, including Title IX staffing and training and advertising for minority job candidates, and increasing support for student counseling and disability services.