Enrollment falls 3.1 percent
Enrollment numbers for fall semester are down 3.1 percent, a decrease larger than Youngstown State University administrators had budgeted.
Ron Cole, director of university communications, indicated that YSU had only planned for a one percent decrease in enrollment. Cole said the loss in student enrollment translates to an approximate $2.1 million loss in the university’s revenue.
“We had anticipated that enrollment would be down more than we budgeted. We’ve been going through a planning process.” Cole said. “Now that we know what the numbers are, we can put some solid plans into place.”
Details regarding these plans have not yet been determined, but YSU President Randy Dunn said that budget cuts are expected to occur.
“As we look at those reductions that will likely take place … I want to protect as much as I can — our academic support services, student services, and our people,” Dunn said.
Dunn indicated that the university finished fiscal year 2013 with a deficit of $1.9 million.
“We cannot do that again this year,” he said. “We’ve got to go through and put in place some reductions to account for the loss in enrollment beyond which was anticipated in the budget. We cannot repeat that deficit from last year.”
Lost revenue due to falling enrollment only adds to YSU’s budgetary issues. Over the past two years, Cole explained, YSU has lost a total of $16 million in state and tuition funding.
“There’s some fairly significant structural issues that need to be dealt with in the budget,” Cole said.
While Cole acknowledges the university’s budget issues, he said YSU remains a healthy university. Cole pointed out that though total enrollment has decreased, the number of transfer students and grad students has increased.
“The University remains a healthy, vital entity. Let’s not forget that we still have more than 13,000 students,” he said. “We do have these challenges — we will face them; we will resolve them and we will move on.”
Cole also indicated that YSU’s problems are not unique, and that other area schools have experienced similar drops in enrollment.
Official enrollment numbers for Akron University, Kent State University and Cleveland State University have not yet been published. Preliminary numbers indicate that Kent State is expected to experience record high enrollment numbers for this fall.