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Sullivan Warns UVA's Looming Fiscal Cliff May Bring Harsh Cuts - NBC29 WVIR Charlottesville, VA News, Sports and Weather

Sullivan Warns UVA's Looming Fiscal Cliff May Bring Harsh Cuts

Posted: Updated: Nov 28, 2012 09:03 PM EST

University of Virginia President Teresa Sullivan is warning students and faculty of the potential cuts that could come from the looming fiscal cliff.

UVA faces millions of dollars in possible cuts to federal financial aid and research if lawmakers on Capitol Hill fail to reach a deal by the end of the year.

Sullivan and Virginia Tech President Charles Steger are co-authoring a letter from the commonwealth's universities to Virginia's members of Congress to express their concerns about the fiscal cliff fallout.

Sullivan also sent an email to the university community Tuesday about potential cuts (see below). She says UVA began planning for sequestration over the summer. The university's first priority will be sustaining financial aid, salaries, and research for as long as possible.

Sullivan stated, "Because our federal research funds are used to support some of our employees who work on research projects, we're concerned about the continuity of employment and also continuity of enrollments for students who depend on financial aid."

UVA does more than $300 million in federal research each year. Sullivan says sequestration could have "substantial effects" on medical research in the UVA Health System.

An analysis of potential cuts to research and development estimates the commonwealth faces an 8.8 percent reduction in federal dollars.


Dear members of the University community:

I write with a report on the University's plans to manage the impact of across-the-board federal budget cuts, known as sequestration, that are currently scheduled to occur at the beginning of 2013.

Congress and the President do not yet have a clear plan for averting the cuts. If budget sequestration occurs, discretionary spending would be cut 9.4% for national defense and 8.2% for non-defense spending.

These cuts would affect our research funding and our financial aid programs in significant ways. One analysis (http://www.aaas.org/spp/rd/fy2013/SeqBrief.pdf) indicates that there would be cuts of $2.3 billion for the National Institutes of Health and $456 million for the National Science Foundation, with similar cuts at other agencies that support U.Va. research.

Although Pell grants are exempt from sequestration in the first year, other forms of federal financial aid could be affected. There would also be substantial effects on the University Health System.

U.Va. leaders began planning last summer for how we would handle sequestration if it occurs. We are aware that there are special considerations with suspending ongoing research, not to mention issues related to continuity in employment for our faculty and staff and in enrollment for our students. If sequestration occurs, our first priority will be assuring continuity in financial aid, salaries, and research for as long as possible.

Vice President for Research Tom Skalak will be in touch with the University's Principal Investigators who receive federal support to discuss their specific concerns.

We are participating in efforts to make Congress aware of the potential impact of the cuts. Virginia Tech President Charles Steger and I have co-authored a letter to the Virginia Congressional delegation to discuss the impact on Virginia's research universities, and Governor McDonnell has expressed his concern for the potential effects on the entire Commonwealth.

Three organizations of which U.Va. is a member - the Association of American Universities, the Association of Public and Land-grant Universities, and the Science Coalition - have created a website (www.scienceworksforus.org) to describe how sequestration would affect research universities across the nation.

We hope that Congress and the President will be successful in their efforts to avoid sequestration. In the meantime, we are keeping a careful eye on the situation and preparing to mitigate the effects of spending cuts that could impact the University.

Very truly yours,
Teresa A. Sullivan

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