By Paul A. Anthony, Editor in Chief
This year’s stock market slump cost the university more than $14 million, but administration officials said the loss shouldn’t affect students’ scholarships or next year’s tuition increase.
The university’s endowment, which on June 1 stood at $145.5 million before the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks and a wave of corporate scandals sent the markets tumbling, now stands at about $131 million, a drop that won’t be fully felt until next year, said Phil Schubert, vice president of Finance.
“It’s not going to affect the number of scholarships given out,” Schubert said. “It may affect our sources of funding. We’ll begin looking at other strategies.”
The endowment, the interest from which is paid out in scholarships and other forms of financial aid, is one of the largest in the country, but a loss of several million dollars is partially offset by the university’s plan of averaging the past three years in determining financial payouts, said Dr. Royce Money, university president.
Another potential problem for the university is an expected drop in enrollment because of domestic and international fears of terrorism combined with an economy that was recently in recession.
Although recent reports had placed any enrollment drop at about 50 students, Schubert said enrollment in credit-hours was in line with budget allotments. He did add, however, that the university had budgeted for a slight decline this year.
“We may have a drop in students, but we may be fine from a financial standpoint,” Schubert said, adding that the university was comfortable with enrollment projections as of Wednesday. “I don’t see any financial concerns for this upcoming year.”
Meanwhile, the university’s reallocation process, which resulted in the cut of two departments, an academic program and a major last year, is winding down, with only personnel decisions remaining. About 75 percent of the $4.5 million targeted for reallocation has been shifted.
“Not all of it has reached the end, as far as personnel is concerned,” said Dr. Dwayne VanRheenen, provost.
As the economy continues to recover, albeit slowly, Schubert said the financial state of the university should be strong, barring another market crash.
“We’re fortunate enough to be in a situation with the financial strength that we have with the students that we have,” he said. “I’m pretty confident.”