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  • The Clarion Ledger

    Delta State slashing budget after losing millions last year. See the details here

    By Ross Reily, Mississippi Clarion Ledger,


    Delta State University President Dan Ennis announced on Monday he is cutting $3 million from the school's budget to change what he calls "an institution struggling to operate under tight fiscal constraints."

    As revenues shrink due to decreasing enrollments, university officials drew on cash reserves until the point was reached where there was no capacity for anything beyond significant cuts.

    Delta State's enrollment has been in decline in recent years. It had a high-water mark of nearly 4,500 students in the mid 1980s. However, the Bolivar County school along U.S. 61 had an enrollment of just 2,700 for the 2023-24 school year.

    In the Fiscal Year 23 budget, which ends on June 30, 2024, Delta State spent more than $50 million. However, the Cleveland school brought in only $47 million in revenues, including tuition, fees, and state funds. Three million dollars had to be found to balance the budget. Those dollars were drawn from one-time funds that have now been expended and are no longer available for use.

    "As revenues shrank due to decreasing enrollments, university officials drew on cash reserves until the point was reached where there was no capacity for anything beyond hand-to-mouth survival," Ennis said in a letter to the university. "Deferring our fiscal reckoning is not in the best interest of the future of Delta State University."

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    There will be new degree programs proposed, and there will be new positions funded, even as some current positions are being discontinued.

    "This university cannot continue to try and be all things to all people," Ennis said. "This line of thinking hascaused us to accept a level of lowered expectations and impoverishment inconsistent with the traditions of Delta State University. None of us want that, and our students expect and deserve better."

    The plan, according to the letter released, will be:

    • Built on reasonable revenue projections.
    • End each year with a 3-5% contingency fund.
    • Devote that contingency to the university’s cash position until Delta State has at least 90 days cash on hand. The university has 30 days cash on hand now.
    • Make meaningful annual progress toward IHL-mandated debt coverage ratio.

    Part of the recommendations for the cuts would include “reducing $250,000 from executive, administrative, and managerial salaries or professional non-faculty salaries, along with corresponding fringe benefits from the adjusted FY24 budget, which begins July 1.

    Other cuts would come from retirement incentives and vacant positions as well as finance and administration.

    There has also been the recommendation that student affairs reorganize and/or combine units to reduce staffing by merging redundant functions. At the end of FY24, 10 positions within student affairs will be eliminated and fivenew positions will be created. Affected personnel have been notified of these changes.

    The following are the positions to be eliminated:

    • Director of Career Services and Placement
    • Assistant Director of Career Services
    • Nurse Practitioner (Student Health Center)
    • Director of Housing and Residence Life
    • Assistant Director of Operations (Housing and Residence Life)
    • Assistant Director of Residential Education (Housing and Residence Life)
    • Director of Student Life
    • Assistant Director of Student Life
    • Coordinator of Campus Diversity (vacant)
    • Administrative Assistant, Police Department (retirement)

    The vice president for student affairs will also eliminate the offices of career services, housing and residence life and the office of student life.

    Athletics will also take a hit as that department will be forced to increase revenue by approximately $350,000through "increased recruitment efforts and adjustment of roster sizes for several sports." In addition, the athletic director will reduce the athletics draw on the budget by $200,000, "by either reducing expenditures or replacing funding with increased external revenue."

    The complete letter with all the details can be seen here.

    Ross Reily can be reached by email at or 601-573-2952. You can follow him on Twitter @GreenOkra1.

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