Norton discusses enrollment at State of University address

Published by adviser, Author: Erica Kurvach - Staff Reporter, Date: April 25, 2013
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Slippery Rock University continues to see a declining student enrollment with 560 less new freshman applications compared to their full-time freshman unit goal of 1550.

The tuition and state appropriations for the 2013 to 2014 budget is unknown except the state government has suggested flat funding. Overall, faculty and staff will receive a $3.3 million raise in salaries/wages and a $2.5 million higher cost of retirement and hospitalization benefits. About 70 percent of SRU’s revenue is totaled from tuition and academic fees, and according to E&G Expenses by Category, 55 percent of tuition is made up of salaries/wages.

President Cheryl Norton shared about SRU’s declining enrollment at the State of the University address in Swope Auditorium on Tuesday during Common Hour.

“If you look at how we compare to the other PASSHE institutions, our sister institutions, first thing that you should notice is that most of all, with the exception of one, has deficiencies in the fall 2012 and spring 2013,” Norton said during the State Address event. “But if you look more closely, what you see is our decrease is not nearly as deep, not nearly as significant, not nearly as large, as our other PASSHE sister institutions.”

According to PASSHE FTE Enrollment Comparisons in the fall 2012 and spring 2013, SRU had a declining enrollment of -1.3 percent and -1.7 percent. Indiana University of Pennsylvania had .9 percent and -1.7 percent. California University of Pennsylvania had -10.4 percent and -9.7 percent.

SRU will rely on their enrollment management team including Dr. Amanda Yale, the Associate Provost for Enrollment Services, to help cover the school’s budgetary needs.

“We have one of the strongest enrollment management team not just in Pennsylvania but in the country,” Norton said during an interview. “We are focused on where future students will be coming from, and looking at both traditional and nontraditional sectors of our population in order to meet the educational needs of the western region of Pennsylvania. Also, I believe SRU’s reputation for excellence will continue to promote robust enrollment in our future.”

About 85 percent of SRU students come from 100 miles from Slippery Rock University.

“For good or for bad, the western side of Pennsylvania is simply not on the economic upturn that you see on the eastern part,” Norton said. “As a matter of fact, there is an anticipation that we will continue to see a decrease in high school graduates long after the eastern side of Pennsylvania has seem incompetent.”

SRU will focus on getting those students in the 100 mile radius to come the University.

SRU’s online summer registration status has increase to 7.2 percent, and their winter registrations status has increased to 1.06 percent.

“It was the enrollment of our online courses and the addition of almost $2 million to our bottom line that allowed us to finish this year in the black,” Norton said.

Before President Norton presented at the Address on Tuesday, Dr. Patrick Burkhart, SRU president of the Association of Pennsylvania State College and University Faculties (APSCUF) spoke and faculties received awards for serving SRU for 10, 15, 20, 25, 35 or more years. Some faculties were recognized for their retirement.

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