Budget, housing discussed at Faculty Senate meeting

May 31, 2015, 7:21 p.m.
Vice Provost for Budget Tim Warner MBA '77 gave his budget report for the 2016 fiscal year at the last Faculty Senate meeting. (LINDA A. CICERO/Stanford News Service)
Vice Provost for Budget Tim Warner MBA ’77 gave his budget report for the 2016 fiscal year at the last Faculty Senate meeting. (LINDA A. CICERO/Stanford News Service)

At last Thursday’s Faculty Senate meeting, Vice Provost for Budget Tim Warner MBA ’77 reported on the University’s budget for fiscal year 2016.

The University expects to run a surplus of $128 million during the 2016 fiscal year, with revenues anticipated to total $5.5 billion.

“Stanford is in terrific financial shape,” Warner said. “We’ve done very well on fundraising for many years, and that continues. The investment returns that we’ve seen on our endowment have been strong. And, unlike many colleges and universities around the country, we really have no deferred maintenance.”

As ongoing concerns, Warner mentioned salary competitiveness, research funding, and housing availability.

Warner also focused on housing issues, and shared ways in which the University has responded to the difficulties faculty and students face in finding housing in Silicon Valley.

For graduate students, the University has continued to subsidize the cost of Escondido Village studios as well as a substantial number of off-campus units.

“This has become a very expensive proposition,” Warner said. “We expect this to go up several million dollars going forward into next year.”

The recently constructed Kennedy Graduate Residences added 436 beds this year. A year from now, the Graduate School of Business will add 200 beds, with the completion of Highland Hall.

“It helps, but it doesn’t solve the graduate student problem,” Warner said.

Manzanita Park will offer undergraduates an additional 125 beds next fall. New residences at Lagunita Court will add 319 beds for undergraduates.

Professor of Philosophy Kenneth Taylor raised the concern that the housing shortage could deter admitted students or faculty hires from accepting offers from Stanford.

For faculty, the University has expanded loan programs, including a mortgage operation. Some schools within the University have also created exceptions to their faculty housing policies or provided rental subsidies to faculty members.

The University has expanded off-campus initiatives to purchase more homes in the region and to build 180 units in the California Avenue area for faculty. Earlier this year, the Board of Trustees allocated $200 million to fund home purchases and rental assistance. Jean Snider, Associate Vice President of Real Estate Operations, indicated that the trustees will approve additional support in the future.

The University has allocated $50 million of its operating budget to housing.

Professor of Economics Caroline Hoxby pointed out, “It still wasn’t a very large part of the budget.”

“All I can say is that it’s growing,” Warner responded. “It certainly has the attention of the President and the Provost.”

Snider explained that the Stanford housing shortage is part of a broader, regional problem.

“It’s really the market and the jurisdictions not approving new housing. And, this is a very broad issue across the whole of Silicon Valley. Many employers are fighting this as well, and they’re continuing to fight for units. Inventory, just generally speaking in the market, is a very big problem,” she said.

“We’re trying to build where we can, acquire where we can,” Director of Faculty Staff Housing Jan Thomson said. “If there’s anyone out there who has an idea that you would be willing to share with us about something else that we can add–I mean we’re not looking at one silver bullet, one single solution. We’re looking at everything we can think of on this issue that we can put on the table and try. We’re up for experiments. We’ll try just about anything.”

Warner reported that consolidated budget revenue from student income will rise 3.6 percent next year due to increased tuition and slightly higher enrollments.

Since the 2005-06 school year, family resources has declined as a source of tuition from 58 to 45 percent for undergraduates receiving financial aid. Beginning in the 2008-09 school year, Stanford increased funding from endowments and gifts to account for larger proportions of undergraduate tuition.

“These are tremendous numbers,” Dean of Admission and Financial Aid Richard Shaw said.

According to Shaw, Stanford competes with peer institutions such as Harvard, Yale and Princeton with regard to undergraduate tuition support.

At the graduate level, strong fundraising has allowed the University to compensate for reduced grant and contract tuition support, according to Warner.

The capital budget for next year is projected to total $774 million. Capital investments over the next several years are expected to total about $3 billion and include construction of Stanford offices in Redwood City, a ChEM-H/Neurosciences facility at the former Cardinal Cogeneration Plant Facility site and faculty homes in the California Avenue area.

Faculty Senate Chair Russell Berman reported on the status of the smoke-free campus petition a number of Senators and Academic Council members submitted at the March 5 Faculty Senate meeting.

The body declined to vote on the petition in March and referred the matter to the Steering Committee for further deliberation. Provost John Etchemendy discussed the issue with the Steering Committee on April 7 and will report back on related policy options in the fall.


Contact An-Li Herring at anlih ‘at’ Stanford.edu

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