The $183 million since 2002 would seem to average out to $30.5 million saved per year over the six fiscal years in question. How big is that in the context of those two institutions?
Kentucky's two largest universities say they've saved a combined $183 million since 2002 through efficiencies, such as cutting back window-washing at the University of Louisville and taking out the phones in University of Kentucky dorm rooms.
That total also includes savings from merging academic programs, the elimination of faculty and staff positions and the altering or slashing of some employee benefits over the last seven years.
UK and U of L have outlined such cost-cutting measures, as well as ways they've tried to generate more revenue, in memos they dispatched to the Kentucky Council on Postsecondary Education last week.
Context, part 1
For fiscal year 2008, the current Budget of the Commonwealth shows the University of Louisville's revenue as including $186 million from the state general fund, $560 million in restricted funds, and $116 million in federal funds--for a total of $862 million.
For the University of Kentucky, the matching figures include $327 million from the state's general fund, $1,545 million from restricted funds, and $190 million from federal funds--for a total of $2,062 million.
Those figures include the reductions ordered for fiscal year 2008 by the governor. Combined, they add up to $2.9 billion. $30.5 million in savings for that year would be roughly 1.1. percent of revenue.
Context, part 2
For fiscal year 2002, the enacted budget showed the two universities receiving combined revenue of $1.7 billion. Barring changes to that enacted budget that I haven't tracked down yet, their 2008 revenue included a 58 percent increase since 2002.
Context, part 3
CPE's most recent accountability report shows that the two schools were also growing in other ways during the years that revenue was added. From fall 2001 to fall 2007, UK and U of L combined had a 12 percent increase in enrollment, and from the 2001-02 academic year to the 2007-08 academic year, they increased degrees awarded by 6 percent. Increases in research capacity, essential to that part of each university's mission, should also be considered, but I don't have an easy way to quantify that growth element.