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Saturday, September 30, 2023

UF facing almost $36.5 million in budget cuts

The Florida Legislature finalized a plan this week to cut $300 million from the State University System, including almost $36.5 million from UF.

The decrease is an improvement from the 2011 legislative session, which left UF’s budget $54 million lighter than the previous year.

Under the budget, which is up for a vote Friday, UF wouldn't receive the biggest cut — Florida State University is facing $65.8 million in cuts, a 27 percent reduction of its base operating budget reserves.

University of Central Florida and University of South Florida, Tampa will also receive bigger budget cuts than UF.

The budget allocates money for a few UF projects, including $6 million to continue construction on a research and academic center at Lake Nona in Orlando and $2.5 million to renovate the historic St. Augustine Government House, which UF manages.

UF is required to distribute the cuts within its Education and General budget, which excludes the Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences and the Health Science Center, UF spokesman Steve Orlando wrote in an email.

However, UF can distribute the cuts within the E&G budget however it sees fit, Orlando wrote. No decisions have been made yet.

Over the last five years, state legislators have cumulatively reduced State University System base operating funds by 25 percent.

The $300 million cut was determined using a formula that ensured each university’s budget was reduced by the same percentage in each of three categories, according to Kelly Layman, executive director of communications for the Board of Governors.

Of the total cuts, $100 million came from a 6.9 percent reduction of recurring state base funds at each institution.

A 26.9 percent reduction of each university’s reserves garnered another $150 million in budget cuts while consideration of tuition policies made up the remaining $50 million.

In response to the amount cut from UF’s budget, Orlando wrote, “We are fortunate that it is not as high as it could have been.”

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