President's Newsletter October 2014

Enrollment and Budget


We welcomed a record number of students in September, including 380 freshmen, with our academic and diversity profiles also continuing to show steady improvement. In addition, the number of students living on campus rose to an all time high, topping 900, adding to the vibrancy of our living-learning community.

All freshmen living on-campus are now part of living-learning communities (LLCs), and 11 new student leadership positions have been created to assist the LLCs’ Resident Assistants and faculty/staff mentors. More than 60% of all resident students now reside in some form of theme housing.

Freshmen retention also reached an all-time high for the first day of classes - 78%! By comparison, last year’s rate was 71%. Equally impressive, the university experienced record or near record high retention rates for almost every class year.

However, not all the news is great. We did miss our transfer student goal by a large margin and noted a drop in out-of-state student enrollment. We also continued to struggle to attract sufficient numbers of highly qualified male students. And even with a small tuition increase, financial aid costs rose far higher than expected. Each of these areas will require our combined attention moving forward.

The School of Graduate and Adult Education continued its rebuilding efforts and is on plan to hit its revenue targets for the first half of the year. The SGAE team has new initiatives to grow both graduate and undergraduate enrollment in Reading as well as at the Philadelphia and Schuylkill Centers, off-site locations and via new modalities. To that end, Alvernia Online will soon launch. This comprehensive approach to delivering online learning and full degree programs will expand our adult offerings. Beginning in January 2015, we will launch a range of undergraduate and graduate degree programs (MBA, RN to BSN, Special Education Certificate), with more to come in the ensuing years.
 
With the replacement or addition of faculty and staff positions and the recently announced compensation increase, this year’s budget is tight. Continued cooperation is needed to reallocate and manage expenses as we manage this year and anticipate 2015-2016. And we all need to continue to bolster the fine work underway to support our students’ retention and progress toward graduation.

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president's newsletter october 2014

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