January 8, 2009
By MARK NORRIS
The Dallas Morning News
Faced with the loss of $100 million from its endowment, Texas Christian University is looking hard for cuts. Already, officials have asked departments to trim 8 to 10 percent of their budgets for next school year and are not adding any new staff positions.
Such belt-tightening could become common at campuses across Texas. Schools that saw endowment values skyrocket during recent boom years are now calculating how many millions they lost when the stock market plummeted last summer and fall.
TCU and Southern Methodist University, both private schools, are already planning to rethink and trim spending, officials report. Public universities contacted by The News are waiting to see how much money they get from the Legislature before announcing any cuts, officials said. . .
SMU is just beginning work on its 2009-10 budget, but officials said departments would be asked to hold spending at this year's level and to prepare for as yet undetermined campuswide spending cuts. A letter from president R. Gerald Turner in November mentioned endowment losses but expressed confidence that SMU would meet the goals of its recently announced $750 million capital campaign.
Still, the letter said, SMU expects "budgetary challenges" as it copes with the endowment drop and the effects of a recession that's expected to drag on for months.
"We're entering an era where we will be prudent," said Brad Cheves, SMU's vice president for external affairs.
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