LOOKING INTO THE UC BUDGET -- Report #4 (e-mail version) by Charles Schwartz, Department of Physics, University of California Berkeley, CA 94720. 510-642-4427 February 28, 1993 INTRODUCTION & SUMMARY The UC President and his staff have repeatedly said, "Everything is on the table," in figuring out how to cope with the University's continuing financial crisis. The UC President and his staff have also said that there are only three options available to meet the current $243 million budget deficit: * further staff layoffs and cutbacks in programs, * further freeze, and even cuts, in faculty and staff salaries, * further increases in student fees; and the present debate focuses only on how to combine these three actions and apportion the pain among faculty, staff, and students. The study presented here challenges that whole picture by showing that significant financial alternatives do exist within the University. The UC Regents have at their disposal substantial "hidden" resources that can be used to save the University's primary academic mission from further harmful effects of the State's budget shortage. Specifically, this Report identifies $2.3 billion in annual income from UC's peripheral enterprises; and a 10% surcharge to outside customers could cover the University's entire budget deficit. This Report concerns an entirely new subject, separate from my earlier Reports (#1-3) that focused on the resources wasted by UC's overgrown administration. The UC Fact Sheet, copied below, was handed out at the Board of Regents meeting on February 18, 1993, as William B. Baker, UC's Vice President for Budget and University Relations, made his presentation to the Regents on the University's 1993-94 budget. (I have omitted only the pie chart in compacting it.) ------------------------------------------------------------------------------ FACT SHEET University of California -- Revenue Where UC gets its funding The percentage of UC's operating budget derived from the state is declining, but state funding still provides the core support for academic programs and is the key to attracting other revenue. Almost all other UC revenue is restricted to specific uses and cannot replace the shortfall in state funds. Building programs are funded separately by bonds approved by voters and the state Legislature. Revenue from these bonds cannot be used for any other purpose. $7.4 billion 1991-92 operating funds excluding Department of Energy laboratories How UC's funds are restricted* State of California and general fund $2.2 billion Funds earmarked for the general support of UC including teaching, research and public service programs and activities mandated by the state Legislature. Teaching hospitals $1.6 billion Fees for patient services at UC's five teaching hospitals, which must support the continuing operation of those facilities. Federal government $1.1 billion Funds from federal agencies, which are restricted to support specific research projects and teaching programs. Student fees & tuition $638 million Fees support student activities, financial aid, health centers and libraries. Tuition includes fees charged by self-supporting programs such as UC Extension and summer session. Educational activities $546 million Funds generated by activities such as educational workshops, and the treatment of patients at medical clinics. Generally, the revenue is returned to the department or unit to help defray their cost of operations. Auxiliary enterprises $486 million Money collected from operations such as parking lots, student housing and dining facilities. These funds must be used to support their continued operations. Private gifts, grants & contracts $360 million Funds from private foundations, groups and individuals, generally earmarked for specific purposes. Endowments $79 million Income earned on funds donated UC and then invested. In most cases, donors specify how the income is to be used. Local governments $61 million Funds received through contracts and grants to perform specific services for local governments. For example, UC San Francisco receives revenue from the city of San Francisco to manage San Francisco General Hospital. Other sources $253 million Funds from sources such as publication sales, or fees charged for the use of facilities and services. Generally, the revenue is returned to the department or unit that generated the funds to help defray their cost of operations. *Source: Corporate accounting, 1991-92 figures ------------------------------------------------------------------------------ The key point of this Fact Sheet is its second sentence: "Almost all other UC revenue is restricted to specific uses and cannot replace the shortfall in state funds." This statement is FALSE. Yet it has been said many times, by various UC officials, in a variety of ways. This error seriously misleads all who are not experts in the university's finances but are concerned about the UC budget - that includes faculty, students, staff, regents, legislators and many other citizens. The Table that follows presents the full and authoritative picture. This covers the same data as the Fact Sheet, Sources of UC Revenue for the fiscal year 1991-92, with the same categories and the same total figures; but this Table shows in detail the true breakdown between the "Unrestricted" and "Restricted" portion of each of these funds. TABLE 1. U C CURRENT FUNDS RECEIPTS 1991-92 (Dollars in millions; numbers are rounded) Source of Revenue Total Unrestricted = Restricted General + Designated 1. State of CA & general fund $ 2,231 1,993 = 1,987 + 5 239 2. Teaching hospitals 1,634 1,634 = 0 + 1,634 0 3. Federal government 1,107 224 = 0 + 224 882 4. Student fees & tuition 638 638 = 103 + 535 0 5. Educational activities 546 546 = 0 + 546 0 6. Auxiliary enterprises 486 486 = 0 + 486 0 7. Private gifts/grants/contracts 359 27 = 0 + 27 333 8. Endowments 79 22 = 0 + 22 57 9. Local governments 61 1 = 0 + 1 60 10. Other sources 252 228 = 14 + 213 24 TOTALS $ 7,393 5,799 = 2,104 + 3,693 1,595 [Source: "University of California Campus Financial Schedules 1991-1992." I have combined the detailed data for each campus, from Tables 1-A through 10-A, to get figures for the whole University. Table 11-A in that publication contains only the totals, without this breakdown.] The University has a complicated but well defined accounting system, with many different fund sources and many different functional uses of its money. The basic nomenclature and definitions we need are the following. "Unrestricted Funds" are those over which the Board of Regents has complete control as to how they are spent. There are two sub-classes of unrestricted funds: "General Funds," composed of the State's lump sum annual appropriation to UC, plus University contributions to the State's General Funds appropriation, according to prior agreements - mostly Nonresident Tuition and a portion of Contract and Grant Overhead; and "Designated Funds," all other income whose allocation is under the Regents' control - Student Fees, income from Teaching Hospitals and other Auxiliary Enterprises, etc. "Restricted Funds" are those from an outside source, such as the Federal Government or private donors, where the purpose of the funding is specified by the donor. [Source: Office of Corporate Accounting, in UC's Office of the President; and the annual publication from that office, "Campus Financial Schedules"] Now, it is most unfortunate that the budget office, in the UC Office of the President, uses the label "Restricted Funds" in a different and contradictory manner. In the publication "Budget for Current Operations" (often referred to as the Regents' budget), issued each year by the UC Office of the President, I find that: Funds which in reality are classified as Unrestricted/Designated are called "Restricted"; and what is properly classified as Restricted Funds are not mentioned at all (they are probably contained under the heading "Externally Funded Operations" in the table on page 3 of the 1993-94 budget.) The best excuse I can imagine for this doubletalk is that the "Budget for Current Operations" is aimed at the State government, where the primary distinction in funds is between those moneys allocated by the State's General Fund and those provided by the Regents from their other resources. This error in terminology, propagated by the UC budget office, is more than a confusing nuisance, however; it has very serious consequences. It has led to the false but widely accepted notion that money from these other sources could not be used to substitute for the shortfall in State general funding. We need to get this error straightened out. Looking at Table 1., we now see that for only four of the funding sources listed (those on lines 3, 7, 8 and 9) is it true, as claimed in the UC Fact Sheet, that most of the funds are restricted and cannot be used for other purposes. Four of the funds (showing 0 in the last column) are entirely unrestricted; and the two remaining ones (those on lines 1 and 10) are about 90% unrestricted. Of the total $7.4 billion in UC operating funds for 1991-92, only $1.6 billion represents restricted funding. The total amount of unrestricted funds - which is available for allocation under the full control of the UC Regents - is $5.8 billion, of which $2.1 billion is classified as General funds and the other $3.7 billion is classified as Designated funds. This $3.7 billion in Designated Funds is what interests us here. This is money that has previously been excluded from the public discussion of UC's budget problem. The purpose of this Report is to bring this "secret" resource out into the open and invite public scrutiny. This $3.7 billion is a lot of money: less than 7% of this amount, speaking just hypothetically, would cover the entire $243 of the University's budget deficit for next year. Let's try to get beyond the hypothetical by first looking at the individual sources of this unrestricted/designated money. The Student fees and tuition (Line 4 of Table 1) contains several components. The Educational Fees and Registration Fees are already being used to replace the loss of State General funds, so we are not interested in those. However, the income from University Extension ($131 million) and from Summer Session ($24 million) is also included here, and this is worth placing "on the table." The Educational activities, with $546 million, is also worth serious consideration. So is the $1.6 billion from the Teaching hospitals. However, the Auxiliary enterprises, at $486 million, is one which I would not want to consider here since we are trying to protect UC's students, faculty and staff from additional financial burdens. Most of this item is income from university residences and food services, with smaller contributions from bookstores, parking and intercollegiate athletics. The $49 million in designated funds from Private gifts and from Endowments are likely to be funds that are already being put to use as Student Financial Aid, etc., and so I shall leave them out of the present considerations. As for the $224 million in unrestricted designated funds from Federal sources and the $213 million from Other sources, I shall defer consideration of these items to a later time. In sum, then, we have brought "to the table" a previously hidden pot containing $2.3 billion in annual income which the University collects from a variety of external customers. This is Unrestricted money, completely under the control of the UC Board of Regents. The new possibility for consideration is that a 10% surcharge on this set of UC's enterprises could cover the budget deficit without requiring any increase in student fees, or any layoffs or salary cuts for the faculty and staff. Is this really feasible? The University has long had a policy that these peripheral enterprises - University Extension, teaching hospitals, and a variety of other auxiliary businesses - should be self-supporting. That means that the money they collect pays for their own operation. That policy was wise, in the sense that one would not want to allow funds to be bled off from the University's primary academic functions - teaching and research - in order to support these secondary enterprises. In the present budget crisis, however, there is good reason to reconsider that policy - i.e., to turn these enterprises into useful assets for the University - and the Regents have all the power they need to make this choice. In fact, it is not a new idea that funds which were formerly designated for certain specific purposes can be redirected, by regental action, to support the University's central academic operations. In response to the continuing cutback in State appropriations for UC, the Regents have increased Undergraduate Resident Student Fees from $1,634 in 1989-90 to $3,649 in 1993-94 (and additional increases are being proposed for 1993-94.) Most of this increase is in the Educational Fee, a special fund established by the Regents in 1970 and designated for specific uses: originally it was designated for capital outlay projects; then, in 1976, redesignated for student financial aid; then, in 1981, redesignated to include various student social and cultural activities, counselling and career guidance, tutoring, and overhead (recharges to plant maintenance and administration.) In the last two years, the Educational Fee fund has been redirected again: it now provides 94% of all funding for the University's libraries, replacing $150 million in State General funds previously provided for that purpose. Another significant precedent for this idea of charging external clients more and then transferring the proceeds to General Funds is the "overhead" which the University collects on Federal research contracts and grants. A significant portion of that money ends up, under the Regents' control, in support of many academic programs. I expect that the UC administration will provide some arguments opposing this idea of raising the prices of UC's peripheral enterprises in order to meet the present budget deficit. I look forward to hearing from them; and I hope they will also provide a lot more details about what these enterprises consist of. Let the debate begin. In that debate it will be important to remember that the University's primary and overriding mission is the academic one, teaching and research. This means that concern and support for faculty and students is the first priority; and second priority goes to those campus staff who work directly in support of faculty and students. Everything else that the University does is of still lower priority. Whatever the habits and practices of the University may have been in past decades, this protracted budget crisis forces us to examine all questions in a full and open manner.