|Pacific 2020: The Strategic Plan|
Pacific 2020 is a strategic plan put together by President Eibeck and other administrators to ensure Pacific’s future. On Tuesday afternoon, President Eibeck and members of the Institutional Priorities Committee (IPC) presented their plans for Pacific and its budget and took questions from the audience mostly made up of faculty and staff.
Before taking questions, President Eibeck noted that Pacific is currently financially solvent. The school has a small amount of debt that comes from investing in capital projects and constructing new buildings. According to President Eibeck, in response to a question from the audience about the specifics of Pacific’s financial status, Pacific has an A2 credit rating and received high praise from Moody’s, an investment firm and credit rating agency. An A2 credit rating is not the best possible rating but is considered a good rating. Other universities have seen their credit ratings fall in the past few years. Moody’s compared Pacific very favorably to other colleges and universities that have been suffering from much more severe economic problems in the past few years. President Eibeck highlighted an anecdote that when a Board of Regents member found out about the Moody’s review, he proclaimed "Look at this great university! I am so proud of University of the Pacific."
There is still cause for concern. President Eibeck cited "external pressures" that include a drop in enrollment in law schools across the country, including Pacific’s own McGeorge School of Law. According to President Eibeck and Peg Ciccolella, the chair of the IFC, 95 percent of Pacific’s revenue comes from tuition. Thus, Pacific’s short-term and long-term budgets rely heavily on tuition rates and enrollment figures.
In an email to members of the Pacific community, sent out weeks before the event, President Eibeck mentioned that the costs to achieve the goals of Pacific 2020 will be about $15 million. At the town hall meeting, she said that these figures are still being calculated, but the IPC and other administrators wanted to start with an estimation of a 7.5 percent increase of the budget to ensure financial security and changes that will lead to a better university.
Pacific 2020 is complex. The entire plan can be viewed through the University President website. Key components of it include increasing Pacific’s ability to have more online classes and other technologically advanced programs. Pacific currently is made up of a majority of what Eibeck referred to as "traditional students", which means undergraduate students who started their college education immediately after or soon after graduating from high school. As part of Pacific 2020, Pacific wants to reach out and recruit more "non-traditional students", especially part-time workers who want to earn degrees in order to advance their careers. Pacific 2020 will heavily feature career-centered and future-centered components, such as educating freshmen about careers, graduate school, and other opportunities that they can achieve after graduating from Pacific.
"In order to invest in the future, we must relook at how we operate," Eibeck said. "Reallocations are not easy. We pledge to be open and honest. We want ample opportunities to gather information before presenting [the budget for financial year 2015] to the Board of Regents of April of next year." The IPC will begin drafting the FY2015 budget after spring break. It is still unclear what cuts and reallocations will be made, but President Eibeck emphasized that these cuts will not affect financial aid programs.
"Financial policies and projects will not be affected. They will only be affected in that we want to improve our policies," Eibeck declared.
"Most universities are going through, this and it is a much, much worse situation. Public universities have had massive budget cuts for the past five years, and after stock market drops, private universities have had terrible cash flows and needed to make rapid cuts. This is not fun, but the organization will come out of it stronger and better," President Eibeck said as a conclusion to her remarks.
After President Eibeck answered questions from the audience, Cicollella presented the FY 2014 budget. President Eibeck instructed the IFC to focus on four specific issues: tuition rate changes, merit raises, mandatory expenses, and the Pacific 2020 strategic plan. Budget numbers relevant to students include an increase in tuition by 3.9 percent and an increase in funded aid by 4.5 percent. The IFC emphasized that this is the lowest tuition increase in years. The IFC also noted a 2 percent increase in merit-based salaries, as well as mandatory and non-mandatory spending.
As of Wednesday, you can view the entire presentation on Pacific’s website. The IFC also recently created a FAQ website about Pacific 2020. If you have any questions, comments or concerns, you can email them at email@example.com.
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