Under the PBB model, the university does not prioritize education.

Performance Based Budgeting was implemented in FY 2010 as an emergency measure after the administration blew past their budget constructing and updating a number of buildings on campus [1]. This trend of administrative overspending, coupled with stagnant financial support from the state government since the 2008 recession [2], resulted in a budget model with a heavy focus on revenue generation. 

 

Since PBB was implemented, the split of revenue brought in by tuition went from 50-50, between individual colleges and the administration, to around 40-60: 40% staying in the colleges, and 60% going to the central administration [3]. In all, this decrease has resulted in $52 million lost in tuition revenue for the colleges between 2010 and 2017-- money that has instead gone towards a similar pattern of overspending under the current administration [4].

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The PBB model creates a revenue quota for the colleges. This means that each college must first generate enough revenue to cover the administrative budget and its increases, then try to fund their own individual budgets. Not reaching the quota means going in debt to the administration, falling deeper in debt each year to account for the needs of a growing student body [5]. For colleges that are able to commercialize—through alternative revenue sources (Allied Health), big donors (Lindner), and through strong co-op programs (DAAP and CEAS)—increasing revenue is not a challenge. The rest of the colleges, however, have to rely on budget cuts and boosting enrollment, which waters-down courses, hurts research, and leads to the abuse of adjuncts, graduate students, and student workers. 

The current administrative financial priorities (and consequently the budgeting model) have taken millions away from the academic focus of UC at the expense of students and faculty, spending it instead on empty marketing initiatives and endless athletic expenses. Until we give students and faculty a real voice in how money is spent, reckless administrative spending can and will continue under any budgeting model. Replacing PBB, which the administration intends to do between 2020 and 2021, will not solve this crisis by itself. Until a budgeting process involves those actually invested in education, this top-heavy, profit-driven mindset cannot change.

 

We must demand transparency and accountability from the Board of Trustees. Join the AAUP faculty union in the Fight For 51%, a campaign to return the majority of the revenue generated through tuition back to the colleges.

Colleges (Lindner, A&S, CEAS, etc.) use money for things directly related to the academic mission: paying for professors, supplies, labs, etc. The administration funds anything that doesn’t come out of a specific college and is intended to benefit everyone: dorms, athletics, infrastructure, etc. Since the implementation of PBB, however, more money has been funneled to the administration, and the administration has spent more on revenue-generating projects rather than services that truly support students [8]

Since each student’s tuition money is split between their “home college” and the college(s) in which they take other courses (e.g. BoK courses), colleges that are in debt try to increase revenue by getting “butts in seats”—whether that’s by increasing the number of 1000-level courses open to all students or by marketing classes with catchy names but minimal content. This reduces the available professor hours available for higher level, major-required courses that many students need to advance in their degrees.

Students and faculty are paying the price for these exploitative practices (literally).

In the largest survey of faculty done in years, the AAUP:UC (American Association of University Professors at UC) found that over 3/4 of faculty (75.34%) believe that the current budgeting model provides insufficient resources to their unit [6].

See graph for survey answers.

Faculty was then asked how much they agreed with the following statement: "The current budgeting model has negatively affected the core academic mission in my unit."

Results showed that over 2/3 of faculty (69.96%) agree with the statement that the current budgeting model has negatively affected the core academic mission while over half (53. 32%) strongly agree.

See graph for survey answers.

Several measures that coincided with the implementation of Performance-Based Budgeting, like the switch from quarters to semesters and the easing of Breadth of Knowledge course requirements significantly reduced A&S revenue and created an artificial debt that the college owes to the administration.

Since then, the college has been (unsuccessfully) trying to get out of debt. Even though A&S is the highest revenue-generating college (making the university upwards of $190,000,000 during the duration of the current budgeting model's use), their budget has been slashed every year because of debt that is nearly impossible to overcome.

The University of Cincinnati is a public university that acts like a private one.

The administration's goal is to dramatically increase student enrollment by 2025 (their "Next Lives Here strategic initiative", in which they push vague propoganda and flashy building projects like Lindner and 1819 Hub), despite lacking adequate housing for the extra people. The goal is to make as much money in tuition revenue as possible.

Over the years, the number of tenured and tenure track faculty has steadily decreased as the amount of non-tenure track and adjunct faculty has increased significantly [7].

See graph for faculty demographics.

This continued exploitation is notable because if faculty does not receive adequate compensation and any job security, it worsens the quality of education they're able to provide for students.

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