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A large hit to the Divison of Biology and Medicine's endowment has been offset by an increase in research grants, but the sour economy has complicated some initiatives, such as a drive to increase financial aid for medical students, according to BioMed officials.

BioMed has proposed a budget of approximately $138 million for the fiscal year beginning in July 2010, according to Lindsay Graham, the division's executive dean for administration. About 58 percent of that budget would be covered by sponsored research funding.

BioMed — which includes the Alpert Medical School, the Program in Public Health and the University's five life sciences departments — expects an approximately 11 percent increase in research funding, thanks mostly to a new round of federal funding from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act. BioMed's endowment and budgeting are managed separately from the rest of the University.

Though enrollment levels are expected to remain roughly constant, the medical school hopes to allocate an additional $1.2 million to financial aid, Graham said. Maintaining a strong financial aid program is a major goal of the Med School as it seeks to remain competitive with larger and higher-profile competitors, he added.

But the financial aid budget has posed a significant challenge to administrators because it is closely tied to the division's endowment — which lost 20 percent of its value last year. Overall payout from the BioMed endowment will fall approximately $2 million next year, Graham said.

"It's a big problem," Graham said. "At a time when we're looking to get more competitive, we want to be able to make incremental increases in financial aid."

But administrators are confident that endowment losses will not translate to a lower level of student support.

"It's hard, but we're in a good place to break even," Graham said.

Administrators are taking a close look at staffing and efficiency levels across the division in order to identify areas where funding could be scaled back.

"That doesn't mean it's easy or we're not making compromises," said Philip Grupposo, associate dean of medicine.


 


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