Enrollment for the incoming freshman class is down 13 percent from where it was this time last year, according to vice president for enrollment Nancy Davidson.
“We are running behind,” she said.
May 1 marked the national candidates reply date by which many students are expected to have notified their college of choice about their intention to enroll. Additionally, deposits from incoming students are running behind last year’s numbers as well, after the deadline for acceptance of financial aid awards was extended to May 1, according to Davidson.
“For students in our region, I think a lot of them know they have flexibility,” she said. “This class has been a little behind all year long so the fact that they’re not finished with their decisions at this point is not a huge surprise.”
With low enrollment numbers, the college has to plan accordingly to make sure its needs are still met.
“When we have fewer resources, we will all need to tighten our belts a bit, of course,” academic dean Susan Hasseler said. “However, we have enough flexibility in our current structures to absorb some fluctuation in enrollment and to continue to offer strong programs for our students.”
The budget for the college has already been set for the 2013-2014 academic year based on projected enrollment. If the target enrollment is not met, the college will have to adjust, according to Davidson.
“Everybody that manages a budget has been asked to be good stewards of tuition dollars,” she said.
In addition to offering flexible deadlines for students hoping to enroll, the college will continue working to recruit by sharing ideas across academic departments to come up with creative ideas to communicate with prospective students, Hasseler said. Davidson remains optimistic about enrollment efforts next year.
“By the time the final numbers are released for the class of 2017, our staff will be well on the way to enrolling the class of 2018,” Davidson said.