12 items were up for approval at June 17’s Ball State University Board of Trustees (BOT) meeting, and all 12 were approved by each BOT member.
Beth Goetz, Ball State University Director of Athletics, addressed the first of 12 items on the agenda, seeking approval to change the name of Cardinal Creek Tennis Center to The Foster Adams Family Tennis Complex and name the courts located at the complex, the Bill Richards Tennis Courts. This name change was requested to honor the Adams (Foster “Sparky” and Margaret) family’s contributions to Ball State and Ball State Tennis head coach Bill Richards’ historic legacy.
Alan Finn, Vice President for Business Affairs and Treasurer, addressed the next nine items on the agenda. Along with brief presentations of disclosure statements, a personnel report, a summary of personnel action and vehicles and parking registration fees for Fall 2022, Finn presented a quarterly investment report, the allocation of student services fees, room and board rates, a salary and wage plan and a general fund budget plan, all for the 2022-23 fiscal year.
Finn made a point to note that although the quarterly investment report didn’t look encouraging, Ball State is still doing well considering the challenges the United States currently faces economically.
“The good news is, we outperformed our benchmark, the bad news is, our benchmark is pretty bad,” Finn said. “The investment advisors we work with have said, ‘there is nowhere to hide in the market.’ Bonds have been down and equities are down, but we’ve done better than the worst of the worst.”
Finn explained Ball State has continued to stay level with or below the Higher Education Price Index (HEPI), Consumer Price Index (CPI), Mid-American Conference (MAC), or universities in Indiana averages in tuition fees, room and board fees and parking fees, despite inflation affecting the United States. These fees are set and announced every other year and were last set in June of 2021, however, a 1.5% increase is expected in tuition. Neither the room and board nor parking registration fees are expected to increase during the 2022-23 fiscal year.
“We’re continuing our long history of being fiscally responsible, and we’re continuing our history of making sure that, first and foremost, we have the access and affordability in mind for our students,” Finn said.
Finn proposed a 2% salary increase pool and there is a new policy that will determine pay for student employees, with three levels of wages based on skill level, prior experience, complexity of the job and how much supervision is required. Most notably, the undergraduate maximum hourly rate of pay for student employees is set to increase from $9 to $12 per hour, while minimum wage is still set at the state of Indiana's $7.25 per hour rate.
Finn presented the General Fund Budget Plan for 2022-23 along with a comparison to 2021-22’s plan. In General Fund Operating Revenue, there is a $1.4 million decrease in General Operating Appropriation, no change in the Entrepreneurial University, no change in dual credit, a $2,000 increase in Academic Building Bond Payments, a $7.7 million decrease in Student Fees and a $1.4 million decrease in other sources with a $10.4 million decrease in total General Fund Operating Revenue.
In General Fund Operating Expenses, there is a $4.9 million decrease in Salary & Wages, a $440,000 increase in Employee Fringe Benefits, a $1.5 million decrease in Fuel & Utilities, a $3.7 million decrease in Student Aid, a $2,000 increase in Academic Bailing Bond Payments, a $563,000 decrease in Contingency & Strategic Incentives and a $315,000 decrease in the Account Pool and Other Expenses, with a $10.4 million decrease in total General Fund and Operating Expenses.
Geoffrey S. Mearns, Ball State University President, made specific note of the decrease in student aid, explaining that while there is a lesser amount of student aid, there is also a reported decrease in enrollment due to COVID-19.
“We’re actually continuing to provide more aid on a per-student basis, even though the aggregate number in the budget is a small decline,” Mearns said.
Finally, President Mearns presented requests for Juneteenth, a holiday celebrating the emancipation of enslaved African Americans June 19, to be approved as Ball State’s 10th paid holiday, effective 2023, and requested Days of Beneficence continue in 2022.
The next Board of Trustees meeting is scheduled for September 30, 2022.