By Harold Gwin
YOUNGSTOWN — This fall’s jump in enrollment will translate into nearly $5.3 million in additional revenue for Youngstown State University, but the university’s Association of Classified Employees union members will get a big chunk of that money.
The union has an enrollment- incentive bonus built into its current contract that pays union members a stipend determined by the size of enrollment growth from year-to-year.
The university said that bonus will amount to $4,500 per employee and cost a total of $1.8 million this year.
The university reports that enrollment reached 14,682 this semester, an increase of 970 students over last fall and the highest number since 1992.
That enrollment number translates into a full-time equivalent enrollment of 11,649, up from 10,953 last fall.
Full-time equivalent is determined by the total number of student credit hours divided by 15 (the number of credit hours considered to be full-time.)
Thomas Maraffa, special assistant to the president, told the YSU board of trustees Thursday that the jump in FTE will mean an additional $5.275 million in revenue for the university this fiscal year.
However, the added enrollment will bring some additional expenses, he said.
At the top of the list is the $1.8 million in enrollment-incentive bonuses going to the ACE members, he said.
The university is also going to spend $220,000 in hiring adjunct faculty to cover the additional classes required by the enrollment growth, Maraffa said.
There may also be an increase in demand for student financial aid that would be filled from the added revenue, he said.
The ACE bonus provides that the university reward the union members $375 for each 0.5 percent growth in FTE enrollment.
This year’s enrollment represents just over a 6 percent FTE growth, which means each union member will get $4,500.
The union has nearly 400 members.
It isn’t their first bonus.
The FTE growth last year was 1.5 percent, which meant a $1,125 bonus for each union member for a total of $440,000, according to the university.
ACE represents administrative assistants, clerical, secretarial, admissions, maintenance, trades workers and other employee groups.
The incentive bonus recognizes those employees’ role in helping to recruit and retain students, said Ron Cole, YSU spokesman.
He was quick to point out that President David C. Sweet has said many times that the ongoing enrollment growth is the result of an effort by everyone on campus.
However, only ACE has the incentive bonus in its contract.
Brian Brennan, ACE president, said the bonus is a reflection of the caring attention that his union members give to students that goes above and beyond the normal job requirements. They are the people that the students come in contact with outside the classroom, he said.
In addition to their regular duties, they often provide career advice, research advice and more. It’s that attention that helps encourage students to come back next semester, Brennan said.
A breakdown of the 790-student growth shows the biggest number, 422, is an increase in the number of undergraduates returning for another year.
First-time students who graduated before this spring but had delayed attending college made up the second-largest group at 295.
Undergraduate transfers from other schools amounted to 119. Former YSU undergraduates who dropped out of school but returned this fall and spring 2009 graduates from outside Mahoning, Trumbull and Columbiana counties accounted for the rest.