President's Newsletter October 2016

Budget & Enrollment
 

This fall’s enrollment shortfall led us to start the semester with 95 fewer new undergraduate students than planned. Moving into October, we had a total of 73 fewer undergraduate students than last year. Projections from the School of Graduate and Adult Education, where enrollment shortfalls are being felt in traditional adult programs as well as in some of our newer graduate programs including the DNP and MOL programs, were also concerning, though good progress has been made during September.

Together, these circumstances have contributed to the revenue shortfall that has impacted our budget, compounded by additional funding required to address updates in the federal Fair Labor Standards Act that mandates new overtime pay rules beginning Dec. 1. This situation is partially offset by good news including the expansion of the Doctor of Physical Therapy program — which added a second fully subscribed cohort this fall; the promising growth of online programs, with more than 150 students enrolled; and especially record-setting retention of 81% for our returning first year students.

By trimming non-salary expenses and holding open a number of unfilled positions to realize more than $1.7 million in reductions (about 3% of the total university operating budget) from every area of the university, we were able to achieve an updated balanced budget that was approved by the board. These reductions have ensured we continue strong support for student learning and services, protect all currently filled positions, and provide for employees' healthcare, retirement and other benefits.

While impact of the current situation to our budget is significant, the board and I believe that continuing to make strategic investments during this period, even as we cut costs, is essential. As a result, we are moving forward with our PLEX and football plans and funding new positions in targeted areas. Other investments include those in our employee compensation, healthcare and retirement programs as well as targeted initiatives such as the Real World Experience Awards and faculty and student research.

We are also implementing plans and improvements in student recruitment and marketing that we expect will have a positive impact on future enrollment.



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president's newsletter october 2016

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