University to increase budget by $22 million

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    TCU’s Board of Trustees met for its spring meeting Friday and decided on a $293 million budget for the 2006-2007 academic year, said Brian Gutierrez, vice chancellor for finance and administration.This year’s budget is an 8 percent increase from last year’s budget, which was $271 million, Gutierrez said.

    The $22 million increase can be attributed to a series of initiatives that will fund programs ranging from Academic Affairs to student life, he said. Rising utility costs were also factored into determining next year’s budget, Gutierrez said.

    Included in the 2006-2007 budget is $2.9 million to support academic excellence. Seventeen faculty positions will be filled, and academic programs will be enhanced through the Strategic Initiatives Fund, Gutierrez said.

    Chancellor Victor Boschini said programs will be enhanced in a multitude of ways, from hiring extra consultants to work with classes to increasing field research opportunities for students and faculty.

    Also included in the budget is $4.6 million in additional student financial aid, Gutierrez said, and $2.2 million for the Strategic Initiatives Fund, which will award grants to faculty and staff to advance TCU in relation to Vision in Action. Also, $3.5 million is set aside for employee compensation, which includes a merit pool and an increase in benefits, Gutierrez said.

    “This is an exciting time for the university,” Boschini said in a press release. “We have outstanding faculty, staff and students, a vibrant cultural life and an ever-improving physical campus.”

    Also discussed at the meeting was the increase of freshman applicants for fall 2006, Boschini said. The university had received 8,538 applications as of March 31, he said – a 6.8 percent increase from last year at this time.

    Ray Brown, dean of admissions, said there has been a 29.4 percent increase in applications from minority students.

    “I am very encouraged by this development stemming from a lot of hard work on the part of the students, faculty and staff in our recruitment efforts,” Boschini said.

    Boschini also announced at the meeting that the university has hired Jim Hille, the former chief investment officer for the Teacher Retirement System of Texas, as TCU’s first CIO. Hille, who oversaw a $95 billion benefit trust in his former position, will begin to manage TCU’s $1 billion endowment, Boschini said.

    “The current state of the endowment can be traced to three factors,” Boschini said. “Incredibly generous supporters of the institution over the years, wise management of the funds by our trustee committee on investments and good stewardship by our past chancellor, (William) Tucker.”

    Hille was hired to concentrate all of his time and professional expertise on growing the endowment so that TCU will be able to provide more educational benefits for the students, faculty and staff, Boschini said.