News: Press Releases

June 15, 2016

UMass announces $3.1 million in central office savings and $293 million in system efficiency measures

  • The UMass System
President Meehan describes initiatives as "essential steps" and says University will seek additional savings

WORCESTER – UMass President Marty Meehan today said that central office spending was reduced by about 4 percent during the current fiscal year as a result of personnel actions and adjustments to procurement and travel policies.

“We believe that there is an obligation to set the tone from the top and to be very clear in our focus on fiscal stewardship and spending every dollar as wisely as possible,” President Meehan said.

“Our commitment to our students, their families and the taxpayers to manage resources carefully  is firm and unwavering,” President Meehan said, as UMass Trustees met at UMass Medical School.

Meehan, the former member of the U.S. House and former chancellor of UMass Lowell who is completing his first year as president of the five-campus, 73,000-student UMass system, outlined the key components of this year’s $3.1 million in central-office savings.

  • Reducing the staffing level in the UMass President’s Office/UMass System Office, which provides a range of services to all five campuses of the UMass system, from 262 to 248 employees, for a savings of $1.2 million.
  • Other savings measures included a hiring freeze ($960,000), cancelling a scheduled salary increase ($482,000) and curtailing professional travel and participation in professional development programs ($115,000).

With other central-office savings factored in, the overall effect was $3.1 million savings from a $72 million budget – or a 4 percent reduction. The central budget covers all of the services provided at the system level, including financial services and IT.

 

Efficiency & Effectiveness

Additionally, UMass has saved or will save $293 million as a result of ongoing projects meant to improve the way the university does business, in areas ranging from purchasing energy and office supplies to how and when it borrows money for construction and maintenance projects.

The $293 million Efficiency & Effectiveness estimate tracks savings dating back to Fiscal Year 2010 and projected out to Fiscal Year 2019, with $154 million of the savings attributable to projects undertaken by the University itself and $139 million relating to UMass Building Authority actions. The $154 million in University E&E savings includes improvements of $9.3 million over last year.

“The University has been committed to improving efficiencies for many years, and we’ve experienced significant benefits on all our campuses – from advances in sustainability to improved IT services,” President Meehan said. “Our focus is on excellence – and that includes excellence in the way we do business so that we can provide the highest value to our students and to the Commonwealth.”

“These are essential steps and we are committed to uncovering additional savings and efficiencies going forward,” President Meehan added.

The $154 million in operational savings from 129 projects includes cost savings that have been realized as well as future spending to be averted.

The University’s Efficiency& Effectiveness Task Force is also expanding its work into new areas, with the launch of projects in human resources and in facilities operations. The University is also unveiling a program that will encourage employees to contribute cost-saving ideas.

“The University has been working diligently to improve efficiencies in the operation of the University – savings that have allowed us to invest more resources in research, teaching and the student experience,” Board of Trustees Chairman Victor Woolridge said.

Dramatic savings in operations have come even as the University has grown steadily in enrollment. UMass has added more than 10,000 students in the last eight years, while holding the general cost of education level because of these cost saving measures, according to the latest Efficiency & Effectiveness report.

The UMass Building Authority will achieve its $139 million in savings in various ways. In one instance, the Building Authority was able to refund two series of bonds at lower interest rates and save $25 million in debt service over the next 15 years. The Building Authority will also save up to $13 million through a construction audit program.

 

Contact: Jan Brogan, 781-467-9900; Robert P. Connolly, 617-287-7073