SOU president presents plan to erase projected $13M deficit in 2025

ASHLAND, Ore. – SOU is looking at making some major cuts, to ensure the financial stability of the Ashland university.

The university’s president said changes are necessary for the future.

“Revenues for us have been stagnant or have declined,” SOU‘s president Dr. Rick Bailey said.

President Bailey is looking to take action in order to fix the school’s budget.

He said they are projected to have a $13 million deficit by 2025 if nothing changes.

“Doing nothing, in my opinion, is not an option in my opinion,” Bailey said. “Our students, our facility, our staff and our board of trustees are all unity in the perspective that doing nothing is not an option.”

In September, President Bailey introduced his strategic realignment plan.

The main focus is to cut costs on campus.

Replacing the school’s digital platform, which Bailey said will save $700,000 a year, while driving down energy costs are just two ways SOU will be able to save money.

Bailey said the school cannot simply depend on tuition and state funding, so he’s looking at making investments on campus. 

“We are exploring projects like a senior living facility on our campus, we’re exploring the possibility of renewable energy projects, we’re looking at the establishment of a university business district in south Ashland,” he said.

Recently, the university received two of it’s biggest donations ever.

Lithia Motors is donating $10 million to fund the “Lithia and Greencars Momentum Fund.”

But donations and out of the box ideas won’t be enough.

Bailey said they have to get out of doing things like its the 20th century and make daily operations more efficient and cost effective.

“If we don’t do this work,” he said. “Then tuition will skyrocket it. Like it has already done at institutions across the country.”

SOU has hosted a series of town halls over the last few months discussing his plan.

Bailey said the school’s board has been supportive of the proposed budget changes.

But he knows, not everyone will be happy when cuts are made.

“I know that as we move through this,” Baily said. “There is no way that everyone is going to agree on our way forward. There’s no way for that to happen. I think we all recognize that.”

SOU has two more town halls people can attend in January and February.

As of now, there is no timeline on when or if the realignment plan will go forward.

NBC5 News reporter Zachary Larsen grew up in Surprise, Arizona. He graduated from Arizona State University's Walter Cronkite School of Journalism. At ASU, Zack interned at Arizona Sports 98.7FM and Softball America. During his Junior year, Zack joined the ASU Sports Bureau. He covered the Fiesta Bowl, the Phoenix Open and major basketball tournaments. Zack enjoys working out, creative writing, music, and rooting for his ASU Sun Devils.
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