The Orlando Sentinel recently reported that the athletic department at the University of Central Florida (UCF) relies on student fees for nearly half of its annual budget. Students at UCF will contribute $16.2 million this year to a $35.5 million athletic operating budget — amounting to 46 percent of the budget. The university raised student fees for athletics by 58 cents per credit hour.
“There’s always going to be an element of controversy with those, but if you look at the way the stadium being on campus and the new arena has bought the student body together,” said UCF President John Hitt. “If you talk to the student government association, they will tell you that it has really boosted the sense of community and cohesion.”
The UCF athletic department reduced its total budget by 4.2 percent from a year ago. According to the Sentinel, the department has reduced expenses through eliminating six positions, reducing contributions to employee retirement plans, eliminating travel to professional conference and membership to professional organizations, and cutting travel costs for athletic teams. UCF athletics has raised additional revenue through new contracts with ISP Sports Network and Adidas, to provide $2.59 million in sponsorship revenue, up from $2.23 million last year. In addition, the institution provided $166,080 to UCF athletics, a 60% reduction from last year. UCF athletics will also make the first of 12 annual payments of $300,000 to the institution to help pay back a $8.7 million loan.