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Budget Testimony 2004

Testimony Presented To
The Senate Subcommittee on Education, Business, and Administration
The House Subcommittee on Education and Economic Development

Janet Dudley-Eshbach, President
February 2004

Introductory Remarks | Meeting the Legislative Mandate on National Eminence and
Educational Excellence | Working Toward the Future | Tackling the Budget Reductions |
Recommendations | Final Remarks |

I. Meeting the Legislative Mandate on National Eminence and Educational Excellence

Salisbury University has succeeded in meeting the 1988 legislative mandate to achieve national eminence and to provide outstanding educational opportunities for the citizens of Maryland.

A. National Reputation
  • The 2004 editions of U.S. News & World ReportThe Princeton Review, Kaplan’s The Unofficial Unbiased Insider’s Guide to the 328 Most Interesting Colleges and Kiplinger’s Personal Financerank SU among the nation’s top public universities for the second consecutive year. U.S. News included the University as one of the Top Tier master’s institutions in the North, where it rated fourth among public institutions of its kind.
  • The Princeton Review named SU among the top 20% of most connected campuses in the United States, praising the access to technology SU offers its students.

B. Increased Growth, Selectivity, and Diversity

  • SU’s enrollments have grown by 12.1% over the six-year span from 1998-2003.  Today we are a University of 6,816 students, predominantly undergraduates, 88% of whom are enrolled full time.  Because of budget reductions that resulted in few faculty and staff positions being filled, we held enrollment steady between 2002 and 2003.
  • Our diversity efforts have been largely successful, and today the percentage of minority students among the total student population has increased to 13.7% -- up from 11.4% only two years ago.  In 2002, SU enrolled the largest minority class and the largest percentage of freshman African-American students in institutional history.  Moreover, SU surpassed the retention rate benchmark for minority undergraduates.  SU has the highest percentage of African-American undergraduate students among its peer group.

  • Our selectivity has increased.  Enrollment growth, high demand by graduating high school seniors, and increasingly limited classroom space have combined so that today Salisbury University is highly selective in its admissions decisions. At approximately 50%, the applicant-to-acceptance rate is also better than the average of both SU’s performance and aspirational peers. Last year, we had over 5,500 applicants for a freshmen entering class of 950 students.  Average GPA scores for the entering class of 2003 were 3.48 and average SATs were 1134, an increase of 8 points as compared to the entering fall 2002 class.

Application/Enrollment Numbers and Mean SAT Scores (Fall 1999 – Fall 2003)

The percentage of Maryland residents attending SU is the highest it has been since 1984, with all but 14.5% of our students identified as Maryland residents.  This is not necessarily a good thing; the decreased number of out-of-state students (who pay the full cost of education) has had a significant negative impact on our budget.  In addition, lower numbers of out-of-state students weakens the national reputation that Salisbury University has earned over the last decade.

C. High Graduation Rates

  • For eight years in a row, SU’s 4-, 5- and 6-year graduation rates have been the highest in the University System of Maryland. SU has had the highest four-year rate for 16 years running, currently 14 points above the national average. Our 6-year rate at 70.8% is 15.5 percentage points above the most recent national average of 55.3%.

D. Exceptional Peer Performance Indicators and High Accountability

  • Salisbury University compares exceptionally well to its 10 selected performance peers.  SU has the highest SAT 25th/75th percentile range, second-year retention rate, six-year graduation rate, high school GPA, and percent of African-American undergraduate students among its peers and thelowest freshmen applicant acceptance rate.  It also scores above the peer mean for percent of minority undergraduates, six-year graduation rate among minority students, and alumni giving rate.

SU falls below its peers on two significant variables: the percent of faculty with terminal degrees (78% versus peer mean of 85%) and the total state appropriation/FTES ($5,063 versus peer mean of $6,715).

Salisbury University Performance Peers
FY 2002 state Appropriation per FTES

  • One year after graduation, approximately 30% of SU alumni enroll in graduate or professional study while 96% of those who do not pursue further studies are employed.  In any given year, 96-98% of SU graduates rate the overall quality of education received as satisfactory or very satisfactory.
  • Budget reductions have been immensely detrimental to SU’s success on a number of accountability measures. SU has begun to spiral
    backward in a vital academic objective – faculty salary levels.  With a benchmark of the 85th percentile of AAUP peers, SU faculty salary levels have fallen to the 72nd percentile for assistant professors, 62nd percentile for associate professors, and 67th percentile for full professors, making SU far less attractive to prospective faculty.  Further, despite the University’s best efforts, the percentage of core faculty teaching lower-division courses has not surpassed 57%.  Low salary levels combined with a faculty courseload of 7.3 mean that Salisbury University is not competitive in recruiting faculty, and retention of faculty and staff is a growing problem.  Employees are leaving SU for better salaries and lower workload expectations at other institutions.
  • With fewer sections of required courses being offered, students face the likelihood of greater time to degree in not being able to select the right courses at the right time – a potential delay that is costlier than any recent tuition increase.  In addition, having more students and fewer core faculty directly affects the advising load and the amount of time that faculty have to provide personalized and effective course and career guidance.

E. Record Grants and Sponsored Research Awards

  • Over the last two years, SU faculty and staff have submitted over $10 million dollars in grant proposals and have been awarded over $4.5 million dollars in external funding that serve to promote our strategic plan initiatives and expand the application of knowledge and service in our community.  We continue to increase the number of collaborative grant proposals where faculty work with community-based organizations and colleagues at other institutions.

  • An SU $1.3 million five-year federal grant program designed to help area teachers serve Limited English Proficient (LEP) students has been honored as a national model and has received bonus funding from the U.S. Department of Education. The accolades come at a time when several counties on the Eastern Shore are experiencing growth rates above 40% for U.S. immigrants whose native language is not English. The Accelerated Career Enhancement Master’s in English/Teaching English as a Second Language Program serves a rural area with a large number of limited English-speaking students.
  • SU partnered with Wicomico County Public Schools to procure an $814,000 federal history teacher enrichment grant, the largest the county has received directly from the U.S. Department of Education. Members of SU’s History Department and its Edward H. Nabb Research Center for Delmarva History and Culture will work with local teachers to develop classroom history curricula.

F. Commitment to Meet Critical Workforce Shortages

  • The number of teacher education graduates has increased 37.6% over the last four years, from 197 graduates to 271.  In fall 2003, SU had 1,255 students majoring in education.  Lacking adequate facilities and space to greatly expand its teacher education programs, the University has submitted its program justification for a new Teacher Education and Technology Complex for which we have received planning money for FY2004.  We are pleased to learn that $3 million dollars for the second part of the planning money for this desperately needed building is in the Governor’s capital budget for 2005.  However, construction money has been postponed until FY2007, which will delay the opening of the building by at least a year.  This is very disappointing and will have a direct effect on our ability to train and graduate additional teachers.
  • One in four of Maryland’s 2003-04 County Teachers of the Year call SU their Alma Mater. They include State Teacher of the Year Aaron Deal of Wicomico County. SU is also the Alma Mater of 2004 Maryland School Nurse of the Year Penny Makuchal, 2004 Maryland Assistant Principal of the Year Patricia Adkins, and 2003 Washington Post Distinguished Educational Leadership Award in Frederick County recipient Larry Cassell.

  • Since 1999, there has been a 51.4% increase in nursing graduates at SU.  In fall 2003, SU had 341 students majoring in nursing.  Salisbury University’s nursing programs recently received the highest possible rating during an accreditation visit from the American Association of Colleges of Nursing’s Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education, securing accreditation for the maximum period of five years.
  • There has also been an 81.8% increase in information technology graduates since 1999.  Today, SU has 261 students majoring in information technology.

G. Outstanding Athletic Successes

  • SU’s athletics teams celebrated two NCAA national championships in 2003, one in men’s lacrosse and one in field hockey.  In addition, SU had the second highest number of student-athletes named to the 2003 Capital Athletic Conference All-Academic Team.
  • Salisbury University is ranked 14th of 420 Division III athletic programs in the nation.

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