New faculty, financial aid, furniture in new budget

by Heidi Moeller / Beacon Staff • April 21, 2011

 

The college budgeted money to enlarge the full time faculty, increase financial aid 6.4 percent, and refurnish some of the dormitories next year, said Maureen Murphy, vice president of administration and finance.

Murphy presented a breakdown of the 2010-2011 fiscal year budget to the Student Government Association Tuesday, discussing new expenses for the upcoming year.

She said faculty salaries and benefits take up 40 percent of the college’s expenses.

“We try to keep salaries and benefits really as low as we can, but yet remain competitive so we can recruit excellent faculty and staff to work at Emerson,” Murphy said during the presentation.

In comparison to other institutions, Murphy said, spending 40 percent of the budget on faculty is not high. Faculty expenses at Boston University take up 51 percent of their budget, and at Berklee College of Music, the expense takes 50 percent.

Executive Vice President Tau Zaman asked Murphy where improvements to the way Emerson handles finances can be made.

“I’ll be looking at how we can fund all the things that everybody wants to get improved and still keep current in technology and still have faculty and staff, but see if there are ways we can cut expenses that won’t have an huge impact,” Murphy said in response.

She added that she will also be looking at getting the best possible prices in contracts the college has with outside companies and what sustainability initiatives are in the works to keep utility costs low.

Corey Starbuck, SGA executive treasurer,  and former Beacon ads manager, asked Murphy to explain the school’s debt and what it amounts to. Murphy compared the debt to taking out a second mortgage, it gets paid off over time through tuition and fees.

“Let’s say you have a $50 million building,” she said. “What they do is they put something down, or they plan to use some of their operations to fund that; and then they go out for debt — a second mortgage. One way of thinking of it is, as you all are using the building, you’re paying part of that as part of your tuition.”