/ Modified apr 19, 2024 9:19 a.m.

UA's fiscal woes improve: projected $52 million deficit after cuts

The announcement was made during the Arizona Board of Regents meeting on Thursday.

John Arnold University of Arizona Interim Chief Financial Officer John Arnold speaks about the university's budget during an Arizona Board of Regents meeting on April 18, 2024.
Arizona Board of Regents

The University of Arizona’s financial woes are expected to drop to $52 million for fiscal year 2025–an improvement from its projected $162 million deficit.

“We think these are pretty good numbers, but we're also very nervous about putting them out this early in the budget cycle,” interim Chief Financial Officer and Senior Vice President of Business Affairs John Arnold said Thursday afternoon. “We have confidence in these numbers. But we're also confident that they're going to change in the coming weeks.”

According to Fiscal Year 2025 Initial Budget Changes, university colleges will face a $26.1 million cut and health sciences will be reduced by $19.4 million. Administration and the provost will see a $30.1 million cut–the greatest out of all three.

“Every college will start fiscal year 2025 with a balanced budget,” Arnold said. “Most of our colleges have been operating in deficit….Every college will also end fiscal year 2025 with a balanced budget.”

Arnold said they will be implementing budget management protocols such as data sharing and frequent budget check-ins to ensure that the colleges live within the budgets that are established.

“We will be doing the same thing for the administrative units as well.”

In contrast, facilities and utilities will receive $2.9 million towards their budget while $1.3 million will be put towards safety on campus.

“The police department has been carrying a number of vacancies and we're going to fund the recruitment of a handful of additional police officers,” Arnold explained.

Arnold said there are no plans to “sweep cash balances” away from colleges.

“If they're able to operate underneath that established budget, they will be able to bank those dollars in their cash balances.”

Overall, UA’s budget reductions for fiscal year 2025 amount to $71 million.

UA President Robert Robbins says the anticipated improvement is “preliminary, but marks considerable progress” in their financial action plan.

In November, The university announced a $177 million deficit during an Arizona Board of Regents meeting. Since then, UA has instituted 5 to 15% budget cuts across campus along with layoffs. In opposition, some students, staff, and faculty have called for no tuition increases, no layoffs, and to “chop from the top.”

“While central administration, divisions, and colleges all are part of the solution, the largest portion of the budget savings will come from reductions in administrative expenses,” Robbins said in an email to the campus community Thursday morning. “There is still budget work to do.”

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