Enrollment and Budget Update
May 14, 2015
Fiscal Year 2015-16: I will be providing an enrollment and budget report to the Board of Trustees on
Thursday and Friday and wanted the faculty and staff to receive a similar update before
We received a record number of applications this year and admitted approximately 200
more students than last year. Throughout the spring semester, the number of enrollment
deposits for new students ran about 20 ahead of last year. Based on that fact, we
developed a budget with a net tuition revenue estimate of $11.3 million.
One week before the May 1 deadline we began to lose our advantage over last year and
that pattern has continued. At this point, we believe we will enroll approximately
485 students in the fall, about fifteen students fewer than last year and forty-five
students fewer than our anticipated enrollment.
We trace the shortfall largely to a decline in the number of new international and
transfer students and a lower than expected yield on admitted domestic students. Overall,
this translates into a shortfall in net tuition revenue of approximately $1,500,000.
Given the short timeline to prepare a balanced budget for the Board of Trustees, I
worked with the Provost and the Vice Presidents to come up with a plan. A major component
of that plan is a 1.5% tax ($750,000) on our operating budgets.
If there is any positive news in this picture, it is that we have preserved a 1.0%
increase in the salary pool for the coming year. There is widespread agreement that
we simply must make positive adjustments to employee compensation. In addition, our
retention of returning students remains strong, and we are on target to meet the enrollment
and net tuition revenue goals for that group.
Fiscal Year 2016-17 and Beyond: We have not had much time to think about options for the longer term, but it is
my belief that we must give immediate attention in the fall to new academic and co-curricular
initiatives (or logical expansions of existing ones) that are consistent with our
mission, respond to the needs of society, and expand our applicant pool. In my mind,
the only way to reverse the cycle of enrollment and revenue declines and subsequent
budget reductions is to take action to develop programs that are sufficiently attractive
to students and their parents that they will be willing to pay the net tuition that
I know it is hard to think about new initiatives at a time when we still have work
to do to realign staffing in relation to recent budget and enrollment adjustments.
That effort must continue but, at the same time, we need to begin thinking creatively
about how we can increase our competitiveness. I feel that this idea must be our highest
priority for the coming year and look forward to working with you on ways of making