Colleges Use Summer for a Source of Funds

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The New York Times published an article yesterday about how colleges are reaping funds from the summer season by hosting summer camps, academic programs, and even photo shoots. In the economic downturn, new sources of income have become even more important, even as expensive summer programs might be less popular:

“The overall landscape now is one in which you’ve got to become leaner and meaner and more competitive, and that means trying to find more sources of revenue,” said Tim Kelly, a college spokesman. “Summer is an important piece of the puzzle.”

There is a marketing upside, too, in maintaining a busy campus in summer, administrators say. On campus tours, prospective students and their parents respond better to a vibrant environment. And a high school student who takes, say, a three-week screenwriting workshop might remember that institution when applying to college.

But while colleges may be working harder to derive revenue from campuses this summer, some are running headlong into the weakened economy. For years, Vassar College in Poughkeepsie, N.Y., has held or run more than 20 athletic, cultural and academic programs and camps in summer. This year, a half-dozen have folded, citing falling enrollments.

Wesleyan does host some summer camps, academic programs, and summer conferences. But campus might be a bit more active next summer. President Roth has expressed support for a small pilot program for summer classes, and planning for a possible summer session will begin in the fall. Roth wrote in a blog entry:

…the campus is settling into its summer calm. This is, I hope, the last summer for which I can say that. Next year we hope to have at least a few hundred students here taking classes, but now it’s time to catch our breath and plan for the future.

New York Times: For Colleges Needing Cash, Summer’s No Longer a Quiet Season
Argus: School’s On for Summer

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