Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Reaction to University's Forum Discussion on Ways to Tackle $9.7 Million Deficit

By: Lara Al Huneidi, Farah Moustafa and MennatAllah Mousa

CAIRO, Egypt- The American University of Cairo  is predicting a $9.7 million budget deficit, which Executive Vice President for Administration and Finance Brian MacDougall says is due to the unforeseen change in tuition income from international students.

MacDougall explained that the university did not imagine how destructive the situations would be in the summer and this led to a huge decline in their total revenue. The political unrest and the consequent travel ban were behind the huge drop in international student enrollment.

“The students that didn’t come this fall are almost all international students,” says President Lisa Anderson. Although the forecasted year-end budget was of a surplus of $0.03 million, now the university shows a net deficit of $9.7 million due to the decline in international students, as well as many other factors.

Anderson clarified that a task force has been working on options for the university to mitigate revenue loss. Among the many options, a few of them were imposing a hiring freeze for vacant positions, postponing salaries, reducing the financial aid budget, stopping the annual purchasing of agendas and several other options. While some of the options will be temporary, others will be long-term options.

“The purpose of this forum is to solicit your suggestions, your reactions and your thoughts about what we ought to do as a community to address this deficit,” says Anderson.

Several individuals at the forum were concerned about some of the suggestions put forward. This blog is based on some of the reactions as well as opinions of students and faculty members to the university’s forum discussion on the $9.7 million budget deficit.

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