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A $55.6 million budget has been approved for East Central University for the 2009-10 academic year that begins July 1.

Dr. Duane C. Anderson, the university's interim president, said the budget includes $36,417,170 for general academic and administration activities and a projected grants and contracts budget of $19,137,466.

The budget was approved by the Board of Regents of the Regional University System of Oklahoma (RUSO) on June 19. The Oklahoma State Regents for Higher Education will approve the budgets of all of Oklahoma's 25 public higher education institutions on Thursday [JUNE 25].

Anderson said the revenue for this year's academic and administrative budget comes from $16,924,072 in state appropriations, $17,992,303 in student tuition and fees, $73,252 in various state grants and reimbursements, and $1,427,543 in federal Stimulus Bill monies.

"East Central University now receives less income from the state of Oklahoma than from other revenue sources," he said.

ECU's sponsored grants and contracts budget of $19,137,466 in external funds contains primarily federal funds awarded to the university through the competitive grant process. Anderson noted that ECU has the most aggressive and successful external grant program among state institutions, other than the two comprehensive research universities and Langston University.

Given the current status of the Oklahoma economy, Anderson said the university's budget is as good as could be expected.

"We have a stand-still budget with little change from last year," he said. "However, on a positive note, for the first time in several years the university will not increase student tuition and fees."

Last year's academic and administrative budget was $35,712,986. The increase this year is the result of a small amount of new state appropriations to cover the institution's mandatory costs increases and other minor revenue growth.

ECU's economic impact on the Ada and the surrounding area is significant. Anderson said about 80 percent of the university's total $55.6 million budget -- or more than $44 million -- is committed to personnel, contributing substantially to employee and student spending patterns that are important to the local economy.

Anderson complimented the local members of the Oklahoma Legislature for their support of ECU. Sen. Susan Paddack, Rep. Todd Thomsen and Rep. Paul Roan, who all represent districts that include high concentrations of ECU students, were always available and helpful in support of issues important to ECU during the legislative session that just ended, he said.

"We appreciate their commitment to our determination to improve ECU and the delivery of higher education to everyone throughout our service area and the state of Oklahoma," he added.

Anderson, whose six-month stint as interim president comes to a close on June 30, presented ECU's budget to the RUSO board along with the presidents of the other five RUSO institutions. They are the University of Central Oklahoma in Edmond, Northeastern State University in Tahlequah, Northwestern Oklahoma State University in Alva, Southeastern Oklahoma State University in Durant and Southwestern Oklahoma State University in Weatherford.

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