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From the Presidents Office

Highlights from the Board of Regents Meeting, Oct. 19-20, 2017

Oct 25, 2017

Highlights from each Board of Regents meeting will be reported in the Pacific Insider to inform the campus community of the Board's actions and major discussions. The Board plays an important role as the governing body of the university, responsible for the quality and integrity of the education provided to students and the financial sustainability of the university. The chair and chair-elect of the Academic Council, the president and president-elect of the Pacific Alumni Association and the president and vice president of the Associated Students of University of the Pacific are recognized as non-voting liaison representatives to the Board and provide a report at each meeting.

Major highlights from the October 2017 meeting:  

Update on Pacific Values Initiative
The Board of Regents reviewed and discussed the work in Phase I of the Pacific Values Initiative. It commended the university for building and reinforcing a culture that embodies core values, and was enthusiastic about the next phase, which is linked to the strategic plan refresh (Pacific 2020R) priority to Build a Unified University. The Pacific 2020R initiative teams, which include Cultural Conversations and Assessment, Align Policies and Practices, and Unified Institutional Identity, will support the values by assessing the current culture, identifying  gaps with the core values, and recommending and implementing approaches that formally and informally link the values to the university's personnel-related practices, processes and policies.  

McGeorge School of Law adapts to changes in legal practice
University of the Pacific is committed to ensuring that the McGeorge School of Law remains strongly positioned for the future. Accordingly, the Board has charged McGeorge to adapt so that it can thrive in the changing field of legal practice and in the current environment of lower enrollments. The demand for legal practitioners is impacting law school enrollment across the country, including McGeorge. In 2004, there were approximately 100,000 JD applicants for law schools; for the past three years, there have been roughly 52,000 applicants, with 15 additional law schools in the country.  

University leadership will develop a vision and strategy for McGeorge for the Board's review in February. With the university's full support and partnership, McGeorge will continue to build a strong curriculum that prepares students for high rates of success on the bar exam and robust careers in the future while adapting to the lower demand for legal education.  

Report on Athletics budget over-expenditure
The Board heard a report on Pacific Athletics over-expending its budget by $4.2M in the last fiscal year (FY17), largely due to a lack of adequate internal controls. The individuals involved have left the university and the Division of Business and Finance is working with Athletics to implement several supplemental financial controls and monitors, and additional oversight. The university is also in the process of hiring a budget director for Athletics that will report directly to the university's Vice President for Business and Finance and provide budget management support to the interim Athletics Director.   To date, the over-expenditures have been reduced by about half and are anticipated to be further reduced by the close of this fiscal year (FY 18) and balanced by FY20. Multi-year commitments, such as additional financial aid to athletes (which will not be rescinded), make it difficult to quickly balance the budget. University leadership and Interim Athletics Director Wes Yourth are committed to building a strong organization that has solid financial oversight and best practices in place.  

Report on Pacific's discount rate increase
After the Oct. 1 enrollment census, the Office of Enrollment Management, working with the Office of Institutional Research, calculated that the actual discount rate for incoming freshmen is 49 percent, significantly higher than the 43 percent of unfunded aid budgeted for this fiscal year. The university is in the process of fully understanding the budget impact of the increase, which is estimated to be a $1.8 million revenue deficit for this fiscal year. In the next few weeks, university leaders will be talking to the consultant who helped shape the financial aid strategy to better understand the reason for the increase. 

The increase in discount rates has been a national trend in higher education for the past several years. According to a May 2017 National Association of College and University Business Officers (NACUBO) survey of actual discount rates for FY16 and projected discount rates for FY17, private colleges and universities discounted their tuition rate for first-time full-time students at an estimated 49 percent in FY17, the highest rate in the history of the 12-year survey. There are no similar projections for FY18 at this time, but the trend is likely to increase. 

The university does not anticipate implementing budget reductions this fiscal year and will focus on continuing to develop several long-term budget strategies for sustained revenue growth beginning in FY18 and into future years.  

Fiscal Year 2019 Tuition Rates Approved 
The Board of Regents approved the tuition rates for fiscal year 2019, which include a 3.7 percent increase for undergraduate, graduate, Pharmacy and Dental tuition, and a 3.0 percent increase for Law tuition. 

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