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Budget cuts coming for Rice

It’s going to be a tough budget year for Rice University.

Rice President David Leebron set the stage for the coming year in an address to faculty this fall, warning that coping with endowment losses is one of the most critical issues facing the school.

University officials say no decisions have been made about next year’s budget, or even how deeply to cut.

“There are way too many variables in the planning process,” said B.J. Almond, the school’s chief spokesman. The final budget must be approved by trustees.


Rice draws about 46 percent of its operating budget from its endowment, which lost $838 million during the year that ended June 30.

When money drawn from the endowment to bolster school operations is added in, the total drop was close to $1 billion. The endowment was reported at $3.6 billion in June.

Pretty scary. No wonder folks are worried about the potential merger with Baylor College of Medicine, which is a huge financial question mark. I just hope they know what they’re doing.

Seeing a story like this makes me wonder how my alma mater is doing on this front, as it too is a small private school with a sizable endowment, but I haven’t seen anything about it. Let’s hope no news is good news.

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