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Chancellor Rogerson discusses budget cut at open forum

Submitted by Tanner Newton on November 23, 2016 – 1:41 amNo Comment

To mark his 70th day in office, Chancellor Andrew Rogerson hosted an open forum in the auditorium of the Donaldson Student Center on Nov. 9, and money was on his mind.

To start the forum, Rogerson addressed the university’s falling enrollment, which has led to a two percent budget cut.

“The first thing I noticed when I came here, and it was pretty evident, was [we’ve had] five years of falling enrollment,” Rogerson said.

This is in contrast with the rest of the colleges in the University of Arkansas System.

Rogerson said that over the last five or six years, the overall enrollment in the system saw a 15 percent increase, whereas UALR has lost 17.1 percent enrolment, or 2,066 less students.

The cost of the falling enrollment is $3.7 million, or 2 percent of the school’s budget of $ 170 million.

While Rogerson agreed that the budget cut will be difficult, he also said that people shouldn’t worry about it too much.

“People are worried because the phrase “budget cuts” is a bit jolting.  I prefer to call it a budget correction, because the reductions are not permanent, provided we turn enrollment around.  I don’t want to minimize the impact of the budget cut—$3.7 million is a lot of money—but, our total budget is around $170 million,” Rogerson said in interview after the forum.

These budget cuts will not result in anybody losing their job, Rogerson said.

Several plans are in place to try to turn enrollment around.

One is to go to high school students and introduce them to the campus.

“We’re not really recruiting local high school students, let’s get aggressive about this,” Rogerson said.

The first high school that Rogerson is targeting is in Jacksonville.

“If the parents and students sign a contract with us, which is totally non-binding, and if they get college ready, if they apply for this university, if they have a sensible financial package – we will guarantee them a seat at this university,” Rogerson said.

According to Rogerson, this will help people in Central Arkansas realize that college is not expensive.

“Education is not seen as affordable to many students in this region … They don’t realize that if they go for everything they can go for … you can amass $8,720 a year,” Rogerson said. He then added, “To attend this university with tuition and fees, its $8,633. In other words, if you stay at home and you apply for everything your eligible for, education at this university is free.”

 

Additionally, a donor said that he will fund any Jacksonville student if they are $1,000 short, Rogerson said.

Rogerson’s goal is to eventually get enrollment up to 20,000 students.

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