Sequestration Impacts NMU
Some NMU programs have been or will be impacted by the federal sequester—the series of automatic, across-the-board spending cuts imposed when Congress failed to pass an agreement on how to reduce the national debt by the specified deadline of March 1.
Gavin Leach (Finance and Administration) outlined the NMU impacts at Tuesday’s university forum. An immediate cut of 5 percent to the Corporation for Public Broadcasting equates to a loss of $37,000 in service grant funding for WNMU-TV and $7,000 for WNMU-FM. Eric Smith (Broadcast and AV Services) and his staff need to address the budget shortfall in a short period. Smith said they have been looking at a combination of cutting costs and raising revenues.
“We’re proactively sharing this message with the public and making them aware of our situation because, for every dollar we raise, that’s a dollar we don’t have to cut,” Smith said. “We are encouraged by the fact that the last time there was a funding crisis, the public rallied because they valued the services our stations provide. We’re hoping it happens again this time. We want to preserve programming people have come to rely on because that’s the reason the stations exist. And we want to continue to fulfill our critical mission of helping to train the next generation of journalists and broadcasters in this hands-on laboratory.”
Below is a summary of the remaining sequestration impacts on NMU. Some have been implemented, others are projected for the coming fiscal year.
▪Pell Grants are safe for this year (even increasing slightly), but their status could change in subsequent years
▪TRIO Programs will not be cut this fiscal year, but a 5-5.1 percent cut is targeted for the fall. The loss would total $40,000 among Student Support Services, the McNair Scholars Program and Upward Bound Math and Science.
▪The military Federal Assistance Tuition Program would be suspended in FY2013-14, resulting in a $200,000 impact on NMU students (up to $4,500 per person).
▪Other projected impacts for FY2013-14 include an increase in the up-front origination fee for direct loans from 1 percent to 1.053 percent of the total loan, an increase in the loan rate for Parent PLUS loans from 4 percent to 4.212 percent and a reduction of the Supplemental Education Opportunity Grant (SEOG) from $247,000 to $237,000.
▪Subsidized loans for graduate students were previously eliminated for fiscal year 2012-13
Leach said the sequestration cuts are set up for the next decade, but can be stopped by Congress and the president at any time.