UCLA has launched a new committee tasked with cutting costs and boosting revenues – anticipating a continuing decline in state support for the university and rising costs associated with health and retirement benefits.
Scott L. Waugh, UCLA's executive vice chancellor and provost, will chair the Restructuring Steering Committee, according to a memo sent to UCLA faculty and staff last week.
Like UC Berkeley, UCLA has hired an outside consultant to help with the endeavor.
But while Berkeley's contract with consulting firm Bain & Co. will cost the school about $3 million – inspiring rage among some faculty and staff who had to take pay cuts – UCLA has agreed to pay no more than $240,000 to the higher-education branch of Huron Consulting Group, a university spokesman said.
Huron has worked with UCLA on several other projects – most recently, the group conducted an assessment of UCLA’s research administration infrastructure.
The consulting group will help UCLA weigh the pros and cons of several possible strategies, some of which university faculty and staff started to talk about in task force groups formed last year. UCLA also hopes to get some new cost-cutting or revenue-boosting proposals.
Already, the reduction in state funding has resulted in a $131 million shortfall in the 2009-'10 academic year for UCLA, spokesman Phil Hampton said.
A couple of the ideas that have been bandied about so far have potential to change the makeup of the student body. An April 2009 report, by a revenue task force, recommended UCLA increase out-of-state undergraduate student enrollment by 150 students in each of the next four years. Nonresidents pay more than California residents.
The task force estimated that the measure would generate $28 million annually for support of need-based student aid, instruction, faculty support, and other campus priorities.
And what about giving an extra admissions edge to daughters and sons of alumni? The same task force suggested that making legacy status a "plus factor" might increase UCLA's alumni giving. Currently, only 13 percent of alumni give gifts.
"Deans and their external relations/alumni affairs staffs at UCLA frequently hear alumni displeasure at not being accorded any special treatment in the admissions process," the report says.
The same task force recommended a more active program for filming on campus, advertising and sponsorship activities, and co-branding tie-ins.
It also suggested UCLA should increase the total cost of attendance for a resident undergraduate living on campus by 7 percent for the next five years. But keep in mind, this was before the UC Regents approved a 32 percent fee hike in November 2009.
On the cost side, a separate task force recommended that the university implement a phased retirement program, which would encourage early retirement planning and cut health benefit costs by offering fewer plan choices.
"Many of the changes that we are contemplating require your support and participation," Waugh wrote to UCLA faculty and staff. "Our aim is not only to adjust to new financial realities, but also to improve the institution. Both academic and administrative units, all of which are intended to support our academic mission, must be as efficient and cost-conscious as possible; no area will be left out or privileged in this effort."