President's Newsletter October 2013

Enrollment & Budget

Approximately 500 new students arrived this fall, representing the third largest-ever incoming group. About 30 percent of our freshmen hail from out-of-state. Occupational therapy attracted record numbers of highly qualified applicants, and interest in the nursing, criminal justice, communication and forensic science programs remains strong, with athletic training and social work on the rise.

As we know, enrollment challenges continue, with undergraduate enrollment slightly behind goal. Recent gains in retention were reversed: the first-year rate declined from 75% back to 71%. While new student inquiries reached record levels, applications declined this year, resulting in a decrease in acceptances and eventually, lower enrollment than we had hoped. But there was also excellent news: both our academic and diversity profiles continued their steady improvement. 

The School of Graduate and Adult Education team has several new initiatives to build both graduate and undergraduate enrollment in Reading as well as at the Philadelphia and Schuylkill Centers and off-site locations. Despite those efforts, and a very conservative budget target, enrollment is again below plan and a $750,000 revenue shortfall for the year is currently projected.  

Several key indicators in graduate and adult studies have improved recently, as recent actions take effect. Improvements to the graduate studies schedule have responded to students’ desire for a more accelerated format. A modular track (8-week sessions) and several on-site programs have made possible the introduction of several mid-fall cohorts launched with partnering organizations. 

The new partnership with Penske Truck Leasing Company is the best example. Penske has chosen Alvernia as its exclusive in-house provider of educational programs. A cohort of students for the MBA program, delivered on-site at Penske’s Morgantown Road facility, began earlier this month. The online MBA will be offered to all Penske employees (18,000+) nationwide in 2014. In addition, we are launching a new cohort of students in the RN-BSN program at Montgomery County Community College. Valuable efforts by business and nursing faculty have been essential to this progress, paralleling the fine work by social work faculty in Philadelphia. 

This year’s budget will remain tight. While revenue is lower than planned, we have an effective combination of cost saving measures and new revenue initiatives to enable us to meet budget goals. Your continued cooperation is needed in managing expenses and in supporting necessary program development. And we all need to do our part to strengthen the retention of current students and foster their successful progress toward graduation.

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president's newsletter october 2013

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