Cabrini College has not yet made a decision on what next year’s costs to students will be. It has no plans to lay off any employees, according to Stephen Lightcap, vice president for finance and administration. Across the nation, colleges and universities are cutting budgets, laying off employees and raising tuition.
A recent survey released by the National Association of Independent Colleges and Universities highlighted the actions of 371 private colleges.
Although all colleges have seen yearly tuition increases over the past decade, many over 10 percent annually, the survey found 31 percent of the colleges do not plan to increase tuition for the 2009-2010 academic year.
“Cabrini is currently engaged in a process to formulate next year’s operating and capital budgets,” Lightcap said. “We have not made a decision about tuition increase at this time.”
Cabrini, like many colleges, has been affected by the turbulent economy, forcing students to transfer, attend their local community colleges or in some cases drop out of college all together.
“The total return of Cabrini’s endowment and long-term investment portfolio has declined consistent with the stock market as a whole,” Lightcap said.
“However, the decline will have a minimal impact on the college’s operating budget, since endowment and long-term in vestment income comprises less than 1 percent of the college’s annual operating budget.”
Although the survey found that 50 percent of colleges had frozen hiring or planned on doing so, only 8 percent cut or were planning to cut student-aid budgets.
“Over the last semester, working with the Financial Aid office, we closely monitored those students at greatest financial risk and worked with them and their families to enable them to remain at Cabrini,” Lightcap said.
According to the Cabrini College Fact Book, the largest entering freshmen class was 529 in fall 2006. Close to 80 percent of the colleges surveyed said that spring enrollment will stay the same or decrease slightly.
“We anticipate next year’s full-time undergraduate enrollment to remain at current year levels,” Lightcap said. “Cabrini expects a first-year class of about 500 students for the fall of 2009.”
By placing student’s financial needs first, colleges must decide what is most important for their college and students future.
Colleges have decreased spending by cutting faculty hiring, salary increases and construction projects.
Forty-nine percent of respondents said they have slowed down or halted future construction plans; 42 percent have reduced salary increases; and 39 percent have slowed down maintenance renovations.
“We do not anticipate a reduction in staff or faculty,” Lightcap said. “The college does not have a hiring freeze. In fact, several searches are currently in process.”