Fort Hays State University President Tisa Mason had good news in her first state of the campus address: The university is financially healthy and could see a partial restoration of funding cuts from two years ago.
Mason, who is completing her first semester as FHSU’s 10th president, spoke to faculty, staff and students at the spring convocation Friday afternoon in Beach/Schmidt Performing Arts Center.
She highlighted in her presentation FHSU’s composite financial index of 5.31 as reported to the Kansas Board of Regents.
A CFI is a score used to measure a higher education institution’s financial health. It takes into account ratios of financial reserves and operating demands, long-term debt to facilities, return on net assets, and net operating revenues.
“According to industry standards, it means Fort Hays is healthy,” Mason said.
The National Association of College and University Business Offices says an institution with a CFI of 3.0 or above is considered financially viable.
Mason compared FHSU to Pittsburg State University, University of Nebraska at Kearney and University of North Dakota, all of which have recently made deep cuts.
Pittsburg has a CFI of 1.66, according to information in Mason’s presentation. Emporia State University was highest at 5.95.
“We are not Pitt State University, who eliminated 35 positions last year and just announced the elimination of another 19. We are not Kearney, who recently cut $3.4 million and 38 positions, and we’re not North Dakota, who, after a 20-percent budget reduction, the governor just asked the universities to do another 20 percent with a 3-percent contingency,” she said.
“Should that come through in North Dakota, the governor will have cut that budget one-third in four years,” she said, eliciting some gasps from the audience.
Mason offered some good news about state funding for FHSU. The Legislature on Thursday passed a spending bill adding $15 million for higher education, partially restoring cuts two years ago made by Gov. Sam Brownback to balance the budget. FHSU’s cuts for fiscal 2017 amounted to just over $1 million.
If Gov. Jeff Colyer signs the bill, FHSU will see $637,554 in additional funds.