Legislative Testimony 2009
Good afternoon, Mr. Chairman and members of the
Subcommittee. My name is Janet Dudley-Eshbach, and I am completing
my ninth year as the President of Salisbury University. I am very
proud of the efforts of all of Salisbury University’s faculty, staff,
and students. Their hard work has enabled the University to balance
continued growth with the increasing quality and reputation that
have earned SU the national eminence captured in our moniker
A Maryland University of National Distinction.
Let me begin by expressing my sincere appreciation to Governor
O’Malley, the General Assembly, the Chancellor, the Regents, and
the members of this Subcommittee for their hard work on behalf of
public higher education. These responsibilities are difficult under
any circumstances. They are especially challenging in light of our
current fiscal crisis, when so many important needs across our State
are vying for so few dollars. Governor O’Malley’s and your continued
support for higher education in Maryland is laudatory and visionary.
For it is in these most difficult of times when investment in higher
education becomes even more important. Maryland’s institutions of
higher education will retrain those who have lost their jobs, educate
the diverse high school graduates of the future, complete the research
that will provide new avenues for technology and sustainability,
provide the teachers and nurses that our workforce so critically
needs, and continue to build the hope of a better future.
Salisbury University continues to be one of the
University System of Maryland’s most impressive success stories
and the State's best
return on its investment.
SU has transformed its national reputation, the aesthetics of our
campus, the quality of our students, and the way teaching and learning
occurs in our classrooms. I am so proud to serve this outstanding
University and to lead its talented and dedicated faculty and staff.
I hope you will agree that your support has been well founded as
I share with you some of Salisbury University’s highlights of the
A Maryland University of National
Salisbury University continues to garner excellent
rankings and national attention for the USM and the State of Maryland.
Last fall, for the
12th consecutive year, SU was named one of
U.S. News & World Report’s Top Public
(Master’s category North). Ranked seventh, SU maintains its status
as the highest placing public Master’s
level university in Maryland. And for the 10th consecutive year,
The Princeton Review named Salisbury University one of
the nation’s best colleges in its publication, The 368 Best
Colleges. These rankings were followed in December with SU’s
being recognized by Kiplinger’s Personal Finance magazine
as one of its top 100 “Best Values in Public Colleges.” This declaration
was echoed by The Princeton Review which, in partnership
with USA Today, named SU among the Top 50 “Best Value”
Public Colleges in the nation for 2009. Acknowledging our affordable
tuition coupled with our excellent academic programs and student
achievements, these accolades provide strong evidence of the high
caliber of SU’s faculty and staff, the extraordinary private and
corporate gifts that help SU to withstand challenging times, and
the excellent fiscal stewardship that impacts every area of this
institution and sustains our momentum.
Balancing Quality, Access, and Enrollment Growth
Students and their families are noticing SU. Our
student demand last fall was the highest in our history, when more than
7,200 applicants vied for 1,200 freshman seats. Because of this
strong demand, last fall’s freshman class presented the highest
academic quality in the institution’s history, with average SAT
scores in the range of 1550 to 1800 (1040 to 1210, two part) and
incoming grade point averages at 3.53. In its second full year,
the SAT optional pilot program also continues
to prove successful in attracting high-quality
We are competing for Maryland’s best and brightest
students, and we are keeping them. In fall 2007, our average second-year
retention rate of 81 percent ranked second among our national performance
peers. In fall 2008, SU’s second-year
retention rate increased to 82.8 percent. And our six-year
graduation rate of 69.9 percent (2000 cohort) ranks us well above
the peer average of 57.3 percent.
As a USM-designated growth institution, I am pleased
to report that Salisbury University again met and exceeded its 2008-2009
target for enrollment. The total student enrollment for the fall
2008 semester stood at 7,868, with more than 7,000 of these undergraduate
students. We anticipate holding enrollment for freshmen and transfers
at 2008 levels in fall 2009 because of budget reductions and the
The first cohort of the SAT optional experiment will graduate in
Salisbury University vs. Our Performance Peers
Enhancing Campus Diversity
of the benchmarks of my presidency has been the establishment of
a student body that reflects the rich ethnic and racial diversity
of our State. I am proud to report that we are meeting and exceeding
that goal. The fall 2008 student population is the most racially
and ethnically diverse in SU history—minority student enrollment
has nearly doubled over the past 10 years and now comprises about
17 percent of SU’s total students. At 890, African-American
student enrollment is the highest in SU history. Hispanic and Asian-American
student enrollments are also at all-time
highs and continue to grow. Significantly, the average African-American
six-year graduation rate among our national
peers is 41.7 percent (2000 cohort). At 56.3 percent, SU’s six-year
graduation rate for African-Americans
far exceeds our peer average.
Closing the Achievement Gap
is proud to have one of the smallest achievement gaps (difference
between retention and graduation rates when compared with white
students) for African-American students
in the USM. Similarly, a higher percentage of Pell grant recipients
at SU graduated within four and six years as compared to overall
USM four-and six-year
graduation rates. To close this gap further, in 2008 SU developed
the Salisbury University Plan for Closing the Achievement Gap and
celebrated last fall the opening of the Center for Student Achievement
(CSA). Since its opening, the CSA has offered a variety of academic
support services to an average of 35 students per day. In addition,
to widen communication and strengthen our focus on closing the achievement
gap, the Council for Student Achievement and Success was formed
in 2008 by faculty and staff across campus to monitor initiatives,
suggest interventions, and measure success. As plans to develop
living-learning communities and increase
student engagement continue to be implemented on campus, coupled
with the added academic assistance we hope to provide, I am confident
that we will continue to narrow the achievement gap in the years
to come. Our progress has been slowed, however, by the inability
to hire new staff in the CSA.
Meeting Workforce Demands
made tremendous strides last year in our efforts to work in strategic
ways to alleviate the critical nursing shortage. Enrollments are
steady in both our traditional and our second-degree
programs. In fall 2008, of the 453 undergraduate nursing majors,
187 were enrolled at the junior or senior level.
In 2008, SU received a grant for $261,000 administered
by MHEC. That grant allowed us to create in 2008 a new master’s
track, the Clinical Nurse Educator, to increase the number of nursing
faculty. Educating new faculty is a critical need to be filled if
nursing programs are to increase student capacity. This new track
already has nine students, doubling SU’s graduate-level nursing
students to 18. This is our third graduate-level nursing track,
along with Family Nurse Practitioner and Health Care Leadership.
A second purpose of this grant was to create a seamless transition
for practicing RNs into graduate education. The grant enabled SU
to launch an RN-to-M.S.
program, with all of its undergraduate courses offered in distance
format. Five students are enrolled in the program at present, and
this number promises to grow in the future.
addition, Nursing Department faculty developed three grant proposals,
two of which are currently under consideration and a third that
will be submitted this week. A $160,000 New Careers in Nursing grant
from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation would fund unrestricted
scholarships ($10,000 per student) for second-degree
career change students from underrepresented groups including minorities
and men, as well as economically disadvantaged students. A second
grant is under consideration by the Maryland Hospital Association’s
Who Will Care grant program. This $20,000 planning grant
would allow us to explore the feasibility of creating a state-of-the-art,
high-tech, simulation lab for specialized
experiences in labor and delivery, newborn, and pediatric care.
A third and very exciting grant for $800,000 would be part of the
Nurse Support Program administered by MHEC. This grant would allow
SU to work with our hospital partners to develop expert practicing
nurses into clinical faculty. The three-year
grant would provide salary support for two clinical faculty positions
in fall 2009 and one additional in fall 2010. With these additions,
SU would plan to expand enrollment in its second-degree
undergraduate program by 50 percent in three years. Ultimately,
70 percent of the salaries of those new staff would be paid by our
hospital partners. All of these potential resources would create
important opportunities to increase the number of students in our
SU also has implemented a number of initiatives
to improve NCLEX pass rates for our students, and those initiatives
are showing results. Overall scores improved from a pass rate of
83 percent in 2007 to 90 percent in 2008. And second-degree program
graduates scored a 100 percent pass rate for 2006 and 2007; that
trend continues for those December 2008 graduates who have taken
the test to date.
Finally, SU’s nursing program has much to be
proud of, as this year, they were reaccredited by the Commission
on Collegiate Nursing Education for the maximum 10year timeframe
in both the undergraduate and graduate programs. All of the
efforts described here, and many of those which you do not hear
about, are important in eliminating the critical shortage of
nurses in Maryland.
was extremely proud to cut the ribbon for SU’s new Teacher Education
and Technology Center (TETC) last fall. This new facility will allow
us to attract more students and the nation’s best faculty to our
teacher education programs.
SU increased its Praxis test pass rates from 92
percent to 94 percent last year. That pass rate will increase to
100 percent next year when SU will implement a policy requiring
that students pass the Praxis prior to graduation.
SU continues to be one of the largest providers
of teacher education in the State. In response to strong demand,
it is our hope to soon make available a Doctorate of Literacy Education
to teachers on the Eastern Shore. Our ability to offer this much
program will depend on the availability of resources.
The new technology
of the TETC also provided the important tools that we needed to
begin offering our respiratory therapy program in fall 2008 to the
Universities at Shady Grove. SU’s program, the only four-year accredited
program in the State, is offered to USG primarily through distance
learning. Respiratory therapy was launched with a cohort of 10 students
at Shady Grove and intends to expand to four times that number.
SU also partnered with UMB and USG to develop a critical care simulation
lab to serve respiratory therapy, the UMB programs in Nursing and
Pharmacy, and practicing professionals. This important program at
Shady Grove is providing another essential site to increase practitioners
to fulfill Maryland’s health care workforce needs.
Curriculum Reform and Student Engagement
last fall, Fulton School of Liberal Arts students with majors in
the arts, humanities, and most of the social sciences take four
four-credit courses instead of five three-credit courses each semester,
allowing them to study subjects in greater depth and develop their
analytical skills more intensively and allowing faculty to assign
additional readings, civic engagement projects, service learning,
and even study abroad. Because many of the General Education requirements
also are under Fulton’s responsibilities, students across campus
now have the opportunity to be part of this enhanced learning program.
This reformed curriculum is expected to transform student learning
and foster even stronger student engagement.
Attracting Donor Support
its birth as a regional teachers college in 1925, Salisbury University
has been enriched and sustained by a culture of private giving that
is unique among public institutions of our size. For example, all
four of our professional schools—the Seidel School of Education
and Professional Studies, the Perdue School of Business, the Henson
School of Science and Technology, and the Fulton School of Liberal
Arts—are privately endowed.
philanthropic ethic is a reflection of what SU has meant to the
Delmarva Peninsula’s economy, culture, and quality of life throughout
the past eight decades. It also underscores the confidence that
we have earned among our largest and most crucial stakeholders,
and validates SU’s increasingly entrepreneurial approach to donor
outreach. Without this success in supplementing State appropriations
with private support, Salisbury University could not have established
its reputation for excellence during times of fiscal and budgetary
uncertainty. In the current economic crisis, unfortunately, we are
finding that our fundraising efforts have met with much less success.
Scholarships remain an important focus for the Foundation’s fundraising.
Efforts also continue on our capital campaign, and we are quickly
closing in on our Campaign 2012 goal of $30 million.
Creating Environmental Sustainability
2007, Salisbury University joined more than 400 of the 4,200 colleges
and universities across the nation in a pledge to fight global warming.
By signing the American College and University Presidents Climate
Commitment, I made the commitment that Salisbury University will
work toward climate neutrality. Since that time, students, faculty,
and staff have accelerated efforts across campus to identify and
implement many environmental initiatives. I have included with my
testimony a document which details some of these initiatives. Most
significantly, Salisbury University completed and submitted its
carbon inventory, developed by students from the SU-based
Small Business Development Center (SBDC). The project involved collecting
data on the campus’s carbon emissions from 1990 to the present,
including information on SU’s population, energy use, commuter patterns,
and horticulture. This was a first significant requirement of the
Presidents Climate Commitment and provides an important baseline
for SU’s goal of becoming climate neutral. Among many other initiatives,
SU continues to pursue the highest possible LEED certification for
its new construction projects. And SU has received wide acclaim
for installing new high-tech, energy-efficient
washing machines in its residence halls last fall. Not only do the
washers automatically dispense detergent, use a minimal amount of
water, and require no quarters or tokens, the machines’ availability
is accessible to students via their laptops, and the machines actually
send a text message to students when their laundry is complete.
The machines are saving countless plastic detergent bottles, gallons
of water, and trips up and down the stairs!
efforts build on SU’s ongoing commitment to environmental sustainability,
including our partnership with Pepco Energy Services, through which
we are achieving campus-wide energy conservation
measures that will allow us to realize more than $5.3 million in
savings. In addition, researchers from the Eastern Shore Regional
GIS Cooperative at SU last year located and mapped some 420,000
septic systems across the State’s 23 counties to identify failing
septic systems in areas that critically impact the Chesapeake Bay.
This year, they are working with the Chesapeake Bay Critical Area
Commission to create the methodology for remapping the Critical
Embracing the Future
These are truly exciting times at Salisbury University. Our numbers
are growing and student quality continues to increase steadily,
along with applications. As mentioned earlier, we were proud to
open the TETC in the fall. This building transformed the face of
campus by virtue of its distinctive design elements and prominent
location at the intersection of U.S. Route 13 and College Avenue.
Last summer, we began construction of the campus’s
first parking garage. Located on the East Campus, the garage will
add essential parking to support our faculty, staff, and students
as well as visitors to our academic venues. The garage is progressing
quickly and will open next summer.
Design for the new Perdue School of Business building
is also moving quickly. We plan to break ground in fall 2009 on
this new facility, which was made possible, in part, through the
generous $8 million donation from the Arthur W. Perdue Foundation,
the largest gift in SU’s history.
As we look ahead toward an uncertain future, what
is certain is that higher education will become even more important
as a form of economic stimulus and recovery. The Salisbury University
community has been engaged in planning processes across the campus
this year. The new strategic plan for 20092013, which will be complete
this month, confirms that SU is in a very positive position and
lays out additional steps to reinforce the “small school feel” that
many cited as so important to our success, in addition to initiatives
that will be developed to strengthen student engagement and learning.
As strategic enrollment plan was also developed this year, which
anticipates and identifies initiatives to prepare for the more diverse
students of the future. Finally, SU updated its facilities master
plan, including creating a comprehensive housing renovation program
to redesign existing residences in order to accommodate the modern
amenities that students want and identifying the need to develop
new housing through a public/private partnership on a prominent
corner of the campus. Salisbury University is looking carefully
at its future and using resources wisely to benefit our students
of today and tomorrow.
security and the safety of our students and employees have become
critical issues in recent years, and SU has implemented an emergency
notification system for text and voice messaging in the event of
an emergency. We also have purchased and installed a new siren alert
system to back up the text alert system implemented last year, and
testing of that system takes place periodically.
2009: A Year of Budget Challenges
Salisbury University can look back with justifiable
pride upon a productive year of solid achievements and steadily
rising performance indicators. We were poised in 2009 to begin implementing
initiatives identified in our planning efforts last year, including
enrollment growth and additional academic and programmatic improvements.
Given the budget cuts we have already sustained, however, many of
our plans have been put on hold as we struggle to maintain our ongoing
operations. SU fully embraces the notion that we must shoulder our
share of sacrifice as the State and the USM struggle to absorb this
year’s budget reductions. Given that SU has historically received
the lowest level of State funding per student among all Maryland’s
public colleges and universities, and has one of the lowest tuition
rates in the System, however, at Salisbury University these cuts
are especially painful. I would be remiss were I not to describe
the significant impacts that these budget reductions have already
imposed on our campus.
Total Fiscal Year 2009 General Fund and HEIF support
was to have been $40,368,109. To date, SU has experienced the following
budget reductions in FY 09:
2008 funding reduction
2008 funding reduction
2008 funding reduction
Total FY 2009 Budget Reductions:
* Includes a $573,282 General Fund reduction and
a $759,701 fund balance transfer
Faculty, staff, and programmatic reductions which
resulted in or are exacerbated by the cuts include the following:
A hiring freeze was implemented in September,
resulting in 17 staff positions and eight faculty positions
The reduction in faculty positions due to failed
searches and the hiring freeze is causing our class sizes to
grow. If current faculty positions remain unfilled, the
ratio will jump dramatically. While in the
short term this is manageable, if the trend were to continue
or increase, this would certainly have negative effects on our
academic programs. This is particularly problematic as SU has
extremely high faculty workload as compared to other comparable
institutions in the USM.
One of the positions which remains frozen is
our Assistant to the President for Government and Community
Relations. This has weakened our ability to remain responsive
to our legislative partners and the System, and has put many
of our efforts to improve Town Gown relations on hold.
One of our frozen positions is our Director
of Diversity. This impacts our ability to give this important
area of need the requisite focus it deserves.
One of our frozen positions is in nursing faculty.
This position would be assigned the important task of developing
a partnership to allow SU to offer a Doctorate in Nursing Practice,
a requirement for all nurse practitioners beginning in 2015.
One of the frozen positions is the receptionist
for the President’s and Provost’s offices, an important “first
face” to many of our visitors and potential students on campus.
Our residence life staff is down one position,
diluting the critical 24/7 response team which responds to student
health and safety needs.
Our efforts in closing the achievement gap are
slowed, as one of the frozen positions is in our newly created
Center for Student Achievement.
Our students were so concerned about our frozen
Director of Student Activities position that they met and voted
to support a new fee to fund that position themselves. It is
important to note that reductions in our operating funds often
hurt our students in the form of increased fees and ancillary
costs, even in the face of “frozen” tuition.
Our counseling and student health center staffing
levels do not meet accreditation standards. We do not have an
on-call psychiatrist. With the growing
health, psychiatric, and safety needs on college campuses today,
the lower funding per student affects these very basic services
that should be available to a residential campus like SU.
No new dollars are budgeted for facilities renewal,
which likely will cause more costly problems in the future.
SU has identified a critical need for additional
funding for financial aid. Despite operating budget cuts, we
are holding firm to our commitment in this area and have set
aside over $143,000 for this purpose. We would like to be able
to do much more, as Salisbury University is unable to offer
competitive scholarships at the level of institutions for which
we compete for students (e.g., UMBC, UMCP, TU).
SU implemented a furlough plan in which the
lowest paid employees are taking one furlough day and the highest
paid faculty and staff experience five furlough days. In the
spirit of solidarity and partnership, members of my Executive
Staff and I are taking six furlough days.
As we continue to hold enrollment at the current
year’s level, access for Maryland’s high school graduates will
be diminished, particularly for those who are economically disadvantaged.
We are turning away highly qualified students and will need
to continue to do so as no funding is available for the hiring
of additional faculty and staff.
The number of faculty with terminal degrees
is decreasing as we struggle to attract and retain qualified
faculty. This is due to our low salaries and higher than average
faculty workload. Since fall 2007, we have had five failed faculty
Low salaries, noncompetitive benefits, and workload
expectations also have hurt our ability to attract and retain
the best staff. There have been eight failed staff searches
from fall 2007 through the present.
While we have not frozen our public safety positions,
our ability to increase security on campus at all hours is reduced.
At a time of more serious and more frequent safety issues across
the country and in Salisbury, this is of vital concern to me
and my constituents.
Significant demand exists to develop a Doctorate
of Education in Reading Literacy on our campus. It was our hope
to develop this applied program at SU this year. Plans have
been put on hold, however, because of budget cuts.
Even though SU has realized increases in
direct State support in recent years, these funds continue
to represent a smaller percent of our total
State support operating budget. As
such, SU has become increasingly reliant on supplemental
support from the Salisbury University Foundation. Like
nonprofits across the country, however, the Foundation has
experienced significant reductions to its portfolio coupled
with smaller and fewer gifts from donors. Reduced Foundation
support diminishes SU’s ability to supplement funding in
those areas where State support has been decreased or
SU is shouldering its share of Maryland’s and the USM’s fiscal burden.
If there are further reductions, however, our ability to provide
access and quality academic programs will be further diminished.
We have built our national eminence over the past decade; once quality
is compromised, those past efforts are largely lost and difficult
The Fiscal Year 2010 Budget
We urge you to support in full the Governor’s proposed
Fiscal Year 2010 operating budget. We appreciate and support the
Governor’s commitment to keeping tuition frozen for a fourth year.
I have outlined here many of the most severe impacts of our FY 09
budget reductions. Should there be reductions in the Governor’s
proposed budget, however, Salisbury University will experience further
faculty and staff cuts and academic program reductions. This will
result in a general lessening of the quality of our education, diminishing
the hard-earned gains that we have made
across the State and the University System of Maryland.
Our Fiscal Year 2010 request covers only mandatory
costs, modest funds to meet our financial aid commitment which I
mentioned previously, and a required increase in retirement funds
set aside for non-tenure-track
faculty. Even if funded as requested, total State appropriations
to Salisbury University will cover only 46 percent of the University’s
State-supported operations. This underscores
SU’s heavy reliance on tuition and fees to cover educational costs,
including institutional-based financial
aid. SU’s low State appropriation per student combined with inadequate
revenue from our tuition continue to impede our ability to accommodate
a growing student population, attract and retain quality faculty
and staff, dedicate more funds to need-based
financial aid, and offer a distinctive, high-quality
student experience. And while we neither ask for nor expect these
conditions to change in the current fiscal year, any reduction in
the Governor’s proposed budget for FY 2010 will have significant
negative consequences for the academic program and the students
of Salisbury University.
Response To DLS Requests For Comment
The President should comment on why
the University expects the number of new student applicants to the
nursing program to remain level despite measures that have been
planned or implemented to increase that number.
The major obstacle to growing our program is our
ability to recruit and retain nursing faculty
and, given our rural location, the number of clinical sites. There is a scarcity
of advanced-degree, prepared nurses, and
SU’s salaries simply are not competitive, a factor of our overall
low State support. Nursing faculty at SU are working on a number
of initiatives to increase the number of faculty educators as well
as the student capacity of our nursing programs. Two grants have
been submitted to achieve these purposes, and a major additional
grant application is being submitted this week. At this time, however,
we do not know that we will receive the funding for which we have
applied. With additional funding, whether from State or other sources,
we would be able to address many of the problems that currently
preclude us from growing this program.
The President should comment on the
strategies to increase the enrollment of students from diverse backgrounds
and the status of their implementation.
As part of our institutional mission, Salisbury
University has made significant strides over the past several years
to attract a diverse student population and to foster a campus environment
open and welcoming to differences in ideas, perspectives, and experiences.
Through the University’s Optional SAT pilot program, strategic enrollment
plan, and achievement gap plan, SU is implementing strategies to
continue to grow a more socioeconomic and racially diverse enrollment.
The Optional SAT Program,
implemented in fall 2007, has been successful in providing greater
access to economically disadvantaged freshmen, as evidenced by an
increase of students with financial need by 1.3 percent in the 2007
freshman class. (“Financial need” is defined as a student whose
estimated family contribution or “EFC” is less than $10,000.) In
fall 2007, 39 percent of test-optional
students demonstrated financial need compared to 29 percent of test-submitted.
Results for fall 2008 revealed similar patterns, with the test-optional
students representing even more financial need than in the 2007
class. Of those students in the lowest income range with an EFC
of less than $5,000, 26.1 percent of test-optional
students, compared to 19.6 percent of test-submitted
students qualified for financial need— a 6.5 percentage point difference.
Through the strategic enrollment plan,
the University has implemented targeted recruitment strategies to
increase student diversity. Strategies include personalized communication
by admissions staff, student-to-student
connections, and special campus visitation programs focused on high
schools known to have large numbers of minority students. Other
efforts include specially designed financial aid workshops, targeted
community involvement, selective academic receptions, increased
numbers of guidance counselor information sessions, and successful
solicitation of more parent involvement throughout the college selection
process. The next step in this strategic enrollment plan includes
conducting a research study of the growing minority populations
in the State to ensure that the proper support structure is in place
at SU to both welcome and retain a diverse student community.
Further, the University has implemented elements
of its achievement gap plan, including
placement modules and tutorials for freshman math courses and the
opening of a new Center for Student Achievement. The University
continues its mentor program for students coming to SU from underrepresented
racial populations. In this program, students enter the University
supported by peer mentors and aided by special tracking efforts
by our office of Multicultural Student Services to aid in their
transition and retention at the University.
As referenced in the testimony, the fall 2008 student
population is the most racially and ethnically diverse in Salisbury
University’s history. The results of these initiatives have resulted
in a doubling of SU’s minority student population over the past
The President should comment on measures
the University is taking to improve enrollment projections for budgetary
While the 2008 over attainment of enrollment can
be attributed to SU’s success in meeting its commitment as a growth
institution, the over attainment in 2009 was not expected. The primary
causes of the growth in Fiscal Year 2009 are attributable to the
Increasingly, Salisbury University is the first
choice institution for applicants, resulting in higher yield
Retention rates are high;
The Fulton School of Liberal Arts curriculum
changed from mostly three-credit courses
to (currently) mostly four-credit
courses. Our Strategic Enrollment Planning Committee is incorporating
this data into the analysis it performs as part of projecting
future growth. Given the current economic conditions in the
State, the University plans to hold fall 2009 freshman enrollments
at the same level as fall 2008, although overall FTEs may increase
by about 100 due to transfer enrollments and retention initiatives.
The President should comment on the
amount of aid awarded to students without a demonstrated financial
You have asked why, in the category of aid which
is not designated as need-based, only
10 percent of aid went to those who demonstrated the most financial
need. The “other aid” listed in Exhibit 8 includes both institutional
awards for merit and mission as well as the cost of tuition waivers
for the year. The inclusion of tuition waiver costs, which represents
about 45 percent of this “other aid” category, skews the data because
filing a FAFSA is not required to qualify for this benefit. (Examples
of tuition waivers include those granted by USM and/or SU policy
for employees and their dependents from SU and other USM institutions
and senior citizen tuition waivers. Among USM institutions, SU has
a negative net flow of tuition exchange. In other words, more students
come to take courses for credit at SU than SU students choose to
go elsewhere in the USM to take credit-bearing
courses.) Of the remaining 55 percent in this category, which is
designated merit and mission funds, roughly 70 percent was awarded
to students having submitted FAFSA information. It should be noted,
however, that merit and mission awards are based upon academic scholarship
criteria and not on demonstrated financial need.
The President should discuss SU’s plans
to study allocation of institutional aid.
Because most of SU’s revenues necessarily go toward
operating costs, SU struggles to provide enough financial aid. In
an effort to maximize available funds, we engaged Noel-Levitz
to assist with the design of a funding model for institutional financial
aid and Foundation scholarship awards to provide access to those
with financial need and recognition to those with academic merit
in the most cost-effective manner possible.
The new allocation plan was implemented in the fall
2008 semester. The packaging of financial aid attempts to allow
SU’s limited institutional financial aid dollars to reach more of
the ever-increasing number of students
in both categories of the academically meritorious and financially
needy. We have reduced the dollar amounts per student to provide
scholarship and financial aid awards to more recipients.
The University will monitor results as they relate
to our ability to provide access to students with financial need
while also recruiting and retaining high-achieving
students. In addition, the University will measure the impact this
strategy has on the overall profiles of the freshman classes.
Given that the fiscal 2010 allowance
does not provide enhancements over the $1.1 million SU will receive
for the tuition freeze, the President should comment on how the
University will implement the achievement gap strategies.
Without additional funds, the University will be
unable to implement many aspects of the planned strategy to close
the achievement gap. The Center for Student Achievement will remain
in operation, but it is very much understaffed. We will continue
to seek alternate sources of funding to keep retention programs
viable. Salisbury University's goals of narrowing the achievement
gap cannot be met without the necessary resources, either through
additional direct State appropriation, tuition revenue, or grants.