MUNCIE — Ball State University proactively eliminated 25 positions and curbed some non-payroll expenses on Wednesday as the board of trustees approved the 2019-20 general fund budget.

The trustees approved an increase in tuition of only 1.25 percent — the smallest climb since 1977 — and an increase in the salary pool of 1 percent — the lowest pay raise since the Great Recession of the late 2000s.

"For next academic year, our board of trustees adopted a stable and balanced budget, which provides a one percent salary increase with the possibility of an additional one percent mid-year supplement," Ball State President Geoffrey S. Mearns said Thursday. "We were able to develop this budget by striking a balance between keeping a quality education very affordable while identifying expense reallocations and efficiencies, which allowed us to adopt a historically low tuition rate increase once again. We chose to eliminate a small number of vacant positions in order to preserve our strong financial position as we prepare to invest in our strategic priorities."

Ball State employs about 3,000 people. Of the 25 positions eliminated, 22 are vacant, school officials said Thursday. One is being vacated by retirement and two others are under review. The university also is tightening the belt on both travel and supply costs.

A smaller-than-expected freshman class last year caused the year-end budget shortage.

"The confluence of it all is a cut in state appropriations, a very low tuition rate increase, and other parts of the budget going up, like health care and utilities, that we can't control," BSU Treasurer Bernard (Mike) Hannon told The Star Press after the board meeting.
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