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Decreased enrollment, budget reductions place dark cloud over UALR

Submitted by Jacob Ellerbee on September 4, 2013 – 2:52 pm2 Comments

Chancellor Joel E. Anderson has announced immediate budget reductions in advance of receiving the final enrollment numbers for the semester.

In an email addressed to the campus community, Chancellor Anderson said “UALR is facing a significant reduction in enrollment this fall as compared with last year, larger than we anticipated a few weeks ago.”

Final numbers are expected to show a decline of 3-4 percent in tuition revenue, equating to about a $3 million loss for the university, according to the chancellor’s email to UALR employees.

However, the budget reductions will most likely go unnoticed to students, according to Bob Adams, the vice chancellor of finance and administration at UALR.

“Anything that students see are going to be minimal. We’re trying to address this early in the year, not at the end of the year when things may have been much more difficult to deal with,” Adams said.

Adams relayed information from the Chancellor, which included reassurance that some programs and departments will not receive budget cuts. He specifically cites the Information and Technology department and the Department of Public Safety as most likely exemptions to the impending budget cuts.

“We’ll be working on [the reductions] as we go through the year — to look at what we need to do in the way of sustaining a recurring budget in the future,” Adams said.

The budget reduction announcement is being made on the heels of already-announced tuition and fee hikes for the new school year.

The overall cost is up 3.5 percent for UALR students from a year ago. This includes a 3.3 percent increase in tuition and a 4.2 percent increase in fees, according to Bob Adams, the vice chancellor of finance and administration at UALR.

Adams said increases are capped every year in a collaborative effort between Chancellor Anderson, the system office, trustees, the vice chancellors and the budget officers.

This year, Adams said, “the board put a 3.5 percent limitation on overall mandatory cost to students.” The fees that get adopted are in place for a full academic year, staying in effect for the fall, spring and summer semesters. The tuition and fee increases UALR students experience every year may be less than or equal to the percent limitation the board finalizes.

2 Comments »

  • Thomas Mears says:

    Ya know, if they wanted attendance to go back up, they should repeal the mandatory housing for all incoming freshmen. Have they thought about that? Have they thought that it might be scaring students away?

    • Jacob Ellerbee says:

      A good question, Thomas!

      They require freshman students to live on campus. They require those students to purchase a meal plan. Tuition has increased. Fees have increased. Budgets are being cut. I think a lot of us are wondering what will happen next.