The University of South Alabama Board of Trustees Friday approved the school’s budget, including a 2 percent raise for all eligible employees.

USA President Dr. Tony Waldrop said the pay hike includes faculty, administration and staff at the school, as well as medical staff. The raises, which total $7.2 million for USA’s more than 5,000 employees, will go into effect Jan. 1 for the majority of employees and Dec. 28 for others, he said.

Waldrop said the university has given several raises over the last several years, but they were “small.”

USA’s fiscal year 2015 budget includes revenues of $786 million, which is up from $750 million last year. Expenditures increased from $749 million to $780 million in fiscal year 2015. Expected revenue figures include $140 million in tuition and fees from USA’s 16,055 students, as well as $103 million in state appropriations.

While USA’s hospitals are its biggest revenue, they are also its biggest expenditure in the 2014-2015 at roughly $360 million. Both the hospitals’ revenues and expenditures are expected to increase compared to the fiscal year 2014 budget.

In other business, the school was presented a check for $300,000 from the Alabama Power Foundation for engineering scholarships. In addition, the Mitchell Foundation matched that amount, giving $600,000 to the scholarship fund, which will be available to both incoming freshmen and transfer students.

“We’re very excited to be partners with USA in investing in young people to make a difference in the future,” the Alabama Power Foundation’s Beth Thomas said.
The board also saw a breakdown of the university’s record-setting enrollment of 16,055.

“I’m delighted with the enrollment numbers,” Waldrop said after the meeting. “It’s a vote of confidence in USA at a time when we’re seeing a decrease in the amount of students looking to go to college.”

The record enrollment represents a 4.9 percent increase in enrollment, meaning the university is up 744 students since last year. The number also represents the school’s largest freshman class at 2,073. Those freshman have an average ACT score of 22.9, which ties the record from the previous year.

The school has 1,107 new graduate students and 4,000 total graduate students on campus.