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Wednesday, April 24, 2024

UF has begun looking for ways to put a dent in the planned universitywide budget cut of ,34 million, UF trustees announced Thursday.

UF will pay ,200,000 to the Huron Consulting Group to help the Cost Reduction and Efficiency Task Force reduce expenditures and generate new revenue for UF, said Kyle Cavanaugh, vice president for human resources.

No state dollars will be used to pay the group, said Steve Orlando, UF spokesman.

Orlando said administrators believe the savings Huron will bring to UF will vastly exceed the cost.

"I don't think they expect to cover all budget problems, but it's certainly a big step," he said.

Many ideas are already on the table.

During a committee meeting of UF's Board of Trustees, Joseph Hice, associate vice president of UF marketing and public relations, said cutting back on printed publications could save millions.

Hice said 82 percent of UF's publications are printed on paper, which costs about ,3 million a year. It would be more efficient to publish them online, he said.

For example, an electronic newsletter, called Inside The Gator Nation, was released Thursday. The newsletter will be e-mailed to UF alumni, students, faculty, staff and friends of UF.

UF Provost Janie Fouke said another solution could be charging students ,10 for a transcript request, which is currently free.

There were about 200,000 requests this year. At ,10 a pop, that's ,2 million, she said.

In an interview after the meeting, Carlos Alfonso, chairman of the committee, said UF would eventually have to do more than "cut a few corners."

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Budget problems will not disappear anytime soon, Alfonso said, even with increased revenue.

The Tuition Differential Program, which will incrementally raise tuition 40 percent over four years, will bring in a total of about ,17 million.

It will go into effect during fall 2008.

With possible additional cuts looming, that increase could leave UF right where it started.

Because of a tax deficit, Gov. Charlie Crist proposed state university funding cuts of about ,600 per student if the state Legislature approves.

The Legislature is also battling the Board of Governors, the State University System's highest governing body.

In July, the board declared a 5 percent statewide tuition rise against advice from the Legislature and joined a lawsuit to fight for tuition-setting powers.

"Students deserve the very best undergraduate education possible," Fouke said. "We just need the Legislature out of the way."

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