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Financial report

W&M President Taylor Reveley sent the following message to faculty and staff May 16, 2018 - Ed.

Dear William & Mary Community,

In April our Board of Visitors approved the university’s budget for July 1, 2018 through June 30, 2019.  Developing the FY19 budget was challenging for a number of reasons, including increases in health insurance and the need to annualize FY18 salary increases, which took effect in August 2017.   More significantly, we have also experienced a large unexpected increase in the amount of need-based financial aid we are committed to providing in-state undergraduates.  

After taking all this and more into account, there was little left on the shelves of our financial larder for other priorities such as salary increases.  

This is an enormous disappointment for me. I became president of our magnificent institution in midst of the Great Recession of 2008. It resulted in drastic cuts in state support for higher education, which meant, at a minimum, no salary increases for faculty and staff across the Commonwealth. One of my and the Board of Visitors’ prime goals became to restore William & Mary’s capacity to raise salaries on a merit basis as soon as possible. We achieved this goal well before other colleges and universities in Virginia because we developed and successfully launched the William & Mary Promise.

Between FY13 and FY18, W&M provided cumulative merit-based pools of 24% for faculty and 16% for staff.  Total inflation was 7% during this period as measured by CPI.  Thus W&M salaries increased an annual average of 4.00% and 2.67% for faculty and staff at a time when inflation remained at or below 2.00%.

Disagreement between the Virginia House and Senate over Medicaid has so far prevented the General Assembly from adopting the Commonwealth’s 2018-2020 biennial budget. There is a small chance the state could provide limited funding for a one-time bonus for classified and operational staff -- but this seems unlikely. It is also possible William & Mary could benefit from some additional state support in a few programmatic areas. Once the General Assembly adopts a budget, I will report if there is a significant impact on W&M’s budget. Otherwise, it will stand as approved by the Board in April.

As recently as 1983, the Commonwealth provided 43% of William & Mary’s operating budget.  We expect the taxpayers will provide 10.8% during FY19.  During FY17 and FY18, philanthropy had a greater role in funding W&M’s operating budget than did state support. This trend will surely continue as the years roll on. 

It follows that William & Mary’s success at annual giving, at attracting major gifts, and at investing the endowment wisely will be absolutely crucial going forward.  We must also materially grow our capacity to generate revenue through online degrees and continuing education programs for adults, as well through constant effort to find new efficiencies in how we do our work on campus.   William & Mary’s financial future will depend far more on actions that we take, than on decisions made by others.  It’s largely up to us.

You have my best wishes.