Retirees Association

DDN: Wright State tuition revenue to decline by millions more than initially expected

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Excerpt from the Dayton Daily News

Wright State University will see an even bigger decline in tuition and fee revenue this fall than initially expected.

A preliminary budget for fiscal year 2020 originally projected WSU would absorb around a $9 million decline in tuition revenue. But, the one presented to the board of trustees today showed that decline is actually expected be more than $16.5 million.

Wright State is projected to have fewer students to campus next month than it has had in more than 37 years, the preliminary budget showed.

The projections also reduced the number of students expected to enroll this fall; estimates released Thursday showed the enrollment is projected at around 13,380.

The enrollment drop amounts to a 14 percent decrease in total students from last fall, documents show.

The change from last month is due to a decline in the number of graduate students that is larger than previously projected. The university expects the number of grad students will decline by 23 percent this fall from last year at this time, according to budget documents.

Tuition and fees are the university’s biggest source of revenue, as they are at most other colleges. Wright State’s success is “dependent on enrolling and graduating more students,” president Cheryl Schrader told the board.

At Thursday’s budget hearing the trustees did not vote to approve the school’s financial framework for the fiscal year, even though it started July 1.

Several board members asked the administration to present them with a more conservative budget proposal that is based on the possibility that enrollment could end up being even lower than the most recent projections.

“It seems like we’re chasing our tail every year because we miss our enrollment targets by a little bit and it just causes chaos on the expense side,” said Dough Fecher, trustee and former chairman of the board.

To make up the decline in revenue, Wright State plans to reduce spending in several areas: $4.7 million less on scholarships and fellowships, $1.7 million on “other expenses,” almost $1.2 million less on contracted labor, $1 million less on debt payments and nearly $600,000 less on maintenance and repairs, according to the budget. It’s unlikely that staff or faculty will need to be laid off in order for Wright State to stay on budget next year, said Walt Branson, vice president for finance and chief business officer.