Tuesday, November 26, 2013

How Will AUC Survive the $9.7 Million Budget Deficit?

By: Sarah Yousri, Nermeen Abdel Fattah, Menna Al Malky and Radwa Magdy.

CAIRO, Egypt – A forum discussing the $9.7 million budget deficit took place at The American University in Cairo (AUC) on Sunday November 24th and was held by the University’s President Lisa Anderson and Executive Vice President for Administration and Finance Brian MacDougall.

The purpose of the forum was to generate suggestions and proposals from the AUC community in an effort to overcome the steep financial gap the university is facing. MacDougall stated that AUC is considering different strategies in order to overcome the gap.

According to MacDougall, the main reason for the deficit is a significant drop in enrollment due to a fall in the number of international students by more than 300, adding that revenue is also affected by the 50 percent cut in donations.

"On a positive note, the signing of the Greek Campus lease is starting to bring revenue to the university," he says.

MacDougall discussed two direct strategies the administration is considering implementing, namely, raising the current cost of residence fees for students as well as the implementation of a new parking payment system. As for the faculty and staff, changes in hiring, salaries, benefits and overtime policies were among the proposals made.  

Anderson says admitting more students is out of the question since the university will not be able to provide them with the quality of education they are paying for in response to an attendee who raised  concern over how AUC will be able to maintain quality after reducing their budget. 

Additionally, the decline in the number of international students is not due to a decrease in the quality of education offered at AUC, it is due to the travel ban imposed by the US government, Anderson said.

In a personal interview, MacDougall says: “We want to solve it in a way that’s fair and reasonable to everybody.”

MacDougall has not come to any solution and will consult the AUC community before implementing any strategy.

An additional university-wide forum was also held in Arabic.

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