Bigger classes, higher tuition, major budget cuts

The Board of Trustees recently met for their first board meeting of the year, and the news that emerged was not good.

Due to the economic downturn, the University’s endowment has lost over $120 million… and if you remember, Wesleyan’s endowment isn’t all that big, compared to our “peer institutions.”

A student in the know writes:

Wesleyan’s endowment is down 20% over the last 4 months, and there will be major repercussions for the University’s budget over the next few years—a $15.5 million deficit each year.

The trustees are considering a proposal from the administration that would deal with the problem by increasing class size by 30 for the next four years. There would also be major cuts across all the departments, a one-year salary freeze for staff and faculty, and a slightly larger than normal increase to the cost of tuition. No faculty positions or departments would be eliminated under this plan.

Students should be particularly aware of the ramifications of the first and last strategies being proposed. By increasing class size over the course of the next four years, if we reach our target admission levels, we’ll see around 120 more students on campus—making residential space even tighter (meaning triples for many more freshmen, and a lack of class-appropriate housing in general), leading to longer lines at dining venues, and possibly causing class sizes to swell. By tacking on an additional increase to tuition, the University would raise your bill next year by 5.9%, a bit more than the standard 5% annual increase.

The future is always hard to predict, but current projections, assuming a 5% year-over-year return on the endowment, put us back at our pre-downturn total in 2013. So, in a nutshell, current predictions show that it’ll take us five years to get back to where we were four months ago.

The Board of Trustees meets again in February—unless they decide to call a meeting sooner. It seems fairly certain that a quick reversal of fortunes isn’t on the horizon, and of course, there’s no guarantee that further erosion of the endowment won’t occur. By February, we’ll see if even more restrictive measures are needed to secure the financial stability of the University.

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70 thoughts on “Bigger classes, higher tuition, major budget cuts

  1. Anonymous

    class = class year (2009, 2012, etc), your grade not your academuc classes.so 30 x 4 (for four class years) = 120 more students at wes by 2012.

  2. Anonymous

    class = class year (2009, 2012, etc), your grade not your academuc classes.

    so 30 x 4 (for four class years) = 120 more students at wes by 2012.

  3. Anonymous

    Increasing class size by 30 and admitting 120 more students are flagrantly incongruous numbers. You can’t do both at the same time, it doesn’t add up. 120 more students would be maybe a 1 student increase per class, or less.Unless they’re planning to teach far fewer classes (which I didn’t see mentioned), I think I’m missing something.

  4. Anonymous

    Increasing class size by 30 and admitting 120 more students are flagrantly incongruous numbers. You can’t do both at the same time, it doesn’t add up. 120 more students would be maybe a 1 student increase per class, or less.

    Unless they’re planning to teach far fewer classes (which I didn’t see mentioned), I think I’m missing something.

  5. Anonymous

    What’s the marginal revenue/profit from each additional student? Someone who knows a lot about this, please enlighten us?

  6. Anonymous

    What’s the marginal revenue/profit from each additional student? Someone who knows a lot about this, please enlighten us?

  7. Anonymous

    we should seriously get ahold of the trustees and let them know what we think. increasing class size = NO

  8. Anonymous

    we should seriously get ahold of the trustees and let them know what we think. increasing class size = NO

  9. Anonymous

    these are tough economic times and we are going to have to make sacrifices, but expanding wes by 120 students just doesn’t make any sense, the costs of such an expansion (housing, teachers, health services, dining, etc) are more than the money we’d get from tuition.

  10. Anonymous

    these are tough economic times and we are going to have to make sacrifices, but expanding wes by 120 students just doesn’t make any sense, the costs of such an expansion (housing, teachers, health services, dining, etc) are more than the money we’d get from tuition.

  11. Anonymous

    I recall a professor commented in the argus on how increasing class size is a STUPID way to raise money. it puts more physical strain on the campus- larger classes, crowded dorms, and doesnt raise all that much money. any money rasied is offset by the problems more students brings. someone should let the trustees know. BAD IDEA.

  12. Anonymous

    I recall a professor commented in the argus on how increasing class size is a STUPID way to raise money. it puts more physical strain on the campus- larger classes, crowded dorms, and doesnt raise all that much money. any money rasied is offset by the problems more students brings. someone should let the trustees know. BAD IDEA.

  13. Anonymous

    120 more kids is not going to cause a perceptible difference in most cases. There are, what, approx 2500 students on campus? I doubt that 5% increase will be noticeable in dining halls or most classes. I would guess that one of the ways the University would deal with overcrowding in dorms would be to allow more people to get off-campus housing.That said, $120 million is a freaking LOT of money, and that sucks. A lot.

  14. Anonymous

    120 more kids is not going to cause a perceptible difference in most cases. There are, what, approx 2500 students on campus? I doubt that 5% increase will be noticeable in dining halls or most classes. I would guess that one of the ways the University would deal with overcrowding in dorms would be to allow more people to get off-campus housing.

    That said, $120 million is a freaking LOT of money, and that sucks. A lot.

  15. Anonymous

    Not 8:18, but US News Rankings are always a concern- whether you like it or not, they’re a reality.

  16. Anonymous

    8:18 – I don’t think the US News rankings are really our biggest concern right now. My family is having trouble paying tuition as it is, even with financial aid. This frightens me.

  17. Anonymous

    8:18 – I don’t think the US News rankings are really our biggest concern right now. My family is having trouble paying tuition as it is, even with financial aid. This frightens me.

  18. Anonymous

    It allows the University to enroll more students and collect more tuition. But without all the serious negative consequences of having everybody all on campus at the same time – overcrowding in dorms, classes, dining halls, etc.

  19. Anonymous

    It allows the University to enroll more students and collect more tuition. But without all the serious negative consequences of having everybody all on campus at the same time – overcrowding in dorms, classes, dining halls, etc.

  20. Anonymous

    The students hate Dartmouth’s quarter system in general. It means they are constantly studying for midterms/ finals and the vacations come at weird times during the quarters. Besides, how will that help us deal with our financial problems?

  21. Anonymous

    The students hate Dartmouth’s quarter system in general. It means they are constantly studying for midterms/ finals and the vacations come at weird times during the quarters. Besides, how will that help us deal with our financial problems?

  22. Anonymous

    Everyone else is suffering too…it’s all relative.Wasn’t there a proposal to adopt the quarter system, like Dartmouth’s? That seems like a way we can deal with our financial problems in a way that positively sets us apart from our peers.

  23. Anonymous

    Everyone else is suffering too…it’s all relative.

    Wasn’t there a proposal to adopt the quarter system, like Dartmouth’s? That seems like a way we can deal with our financial problems in a way that positively sets us apart from our peers.

  24. Anonymous

    great… now our US News rankings will drop even more… Pretty soon we’ll be lucky if we are in the top 20…

  25. Anonymous

    great… now our US News rankings will drop even more… Pretty soon we’ll be lucky if we are in the top 20…

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