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DDN: Wright State strategizes to increase enrollment, considers tuition hike

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Excerpt from the Dayton Daily News

Wright State trustees and administration discussed the ways the university plans to attract new students after years of declining enrollment at a board of trustees meeting on Friday.

Wright State president Sue Edwards said new student applications are trending up for fall 2022 compared to fall 2021. However, trustee Doug Fecher, the chair of the finance committee, said the university still expects to use about $7 million in reserve funds due to smaller enrollment figures — and less revenue — than a few years ago.

The university is facing an enrollment crisis: Wright State has seen about a 30% decline in enrollment overall in the last five years. First-year undergraduate student enrollment has declined by 53% since 2015, according to university data.

The trustees also authorized the university to make a tuition increase in line with inflation, plus an additional 2% increase if university administrators choose to increase tuition. Any final changes to tuition rates for next fall would be announced at the June Board of Trustees meeting. Qualifying existing students would continue to pay their previous rates, under the university’s “Wright Guarantee” program.

Fecher said the planned $7 million in reserve fund use is down from $11 million that the university initially projected to use. Fecher said the finance committee continues to discuss the university’s structural deficit “despite the financial strength that we’ve been able to build over the past year.”

He noted much of the financial strength the university has gained is due in part to one-time deals, such as federal aid.