University of Guam president Thomas Krise is urging Speaker Tina Muna-Barnes and Governor Lou Leon Guerrero to re-evaluate the university’s FY 2021 appropriation in the budget bill recently passed by the legislature.
The amended fiscal year 2021 bill is now waiting for the Governor’s approval or veto. In the current version, UOG has been appropriated around $26 million, which is at least $10 million less than the university’s budget request.
In a letter addressed to the Governor and the Speaker, the UOG President requested for a reconsideration of the budget to increase it to a flat appropriation of $27.7 million for general operations and a Student Financial Aid Program budget of $4.3 million.
According to Krise, the current appropriation of $26 million in Bill 282 would irreparably damage its operations.
Though a flat appropriation of $27.7 million would still limit UOG significantly, Krise said it would allow the university to maintain its nursing and healthcare degree and community programs, avoid furloughs to academic and unclassified personnel, and invest in improved learning resources and support to our students.
He said the budget for the Student Financial Aid Programs under Bill 282 is $1 million lower than UOG’s $4.3 million request. This severely limits the amount of awards UOG can make this year. Krise said during a time when students need more financial support, they are seeing opportunities disappear.
Meanwhile, UOG also runs the risk of compromising its ability to meet in part its WASC Accreditation Standards.
Krise also pointed out that despite the pandemic, enrollment numbers during the current semester is nearly the same as in 2019, which is just over 3,400. This shows that even in an unprecedented time of uncertainty, students still desire and are committed to their education.
Krise said even if the Governor and the Speaker are unable to make the requested investments in the substitute budget, Krise hopes that supplemental appropriations might bridge the gap over the course of the year.