UNT’s budget could stabilize despite national sequester

UNT’s budget could stabilize despite national sequester

March 19
22:57 2013

Joshua Knopp / Staff Writer

With national sequestration coming into effect at the beginning of this month, UNT is continuing to make itself more efficient with its yearly budget, President V. Lane Rawlins said.

National sequestration, which was mandated in 2011 in case Congress could not balance the national budget in 2012, takes its cues from the Emergency Deficit Control Act of 1985.

The bill stated that if certain yearly benchmarks in the deficit plan weren’t met, automatic cuts would go into effect to balance the budget. The cuts would come 50 percent from defense spending and 50 percent from discretionary spending, such as education funding.

Political science professor John Todd said the cuts could be harsh, but probably won’t start to be felt for another six months.

“This will be a kind of rolling effect,” Todd said.

Cuts in discretionary spending would affect national grants for financial aid and research.

Cuts to national financial aid could be countered by boosts to state financial aid. Though Texas’ house and senate initially proposed to cut financial aid in this year’s budget, the Houston Chronicle reports that the Senate proposed a budget that included a $120 million bonus to the Texas Grant Program last week.

Rawlins said UNT has already been focusing on efficiency and was optimistic about the college’s financial future.

He said this year’s budget will be reduced by nearly $5 million through efficiency measures. He also said that the next year’s budget might stabilize or even slightly increase.

“If all state and national funds stopped coming in we would become like a private institution and would have to change drastically. But that is not what is happening,” Rawlins said. “The reality is that we have been through some hard times and made some budget reductions to meet our needs.  There has been less support for student scholarships and aid but it seems to be on the rise again, at least at the state level.”

Todd said when the sequester was signed it was meant to be an intimidating factor to force lawmakers to come to an agreement about how to address the deficit and was never intended to go into effect, but it has.

“That’s how we’ve gotten to this impasse such that they can’t make any sort of financial agreement,” he said. “We wind up with a solution that nobody thinks is a good one, but we don’t seem to replace it with a better one.”

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