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Youngstown State University: Deficit increases by $4.5M



Published: Wed, September 14, 2011 @ 12:00 a.m.

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YSU graduate student Jeremy Lester of Austintown talks with senior Arielle Mincher of New Middletown next to the steel sundial sculpture. YSU will lose $4.5 million in general fund revenue due to a 4.3 percent decrease in enrollment – equivalent to 654 students – from the same time last year. The university originally budgeted for a 1 percent increase in enrollment.

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Justin Orr of North Lima enjoys the last few days of summer while waiting for his girlfriend outside Williamson Hall at Youngstown State University.

Fall enrollment at Youngstown State University has dropped this semester for only the second time since 2000. The numbers for fall semesters:

2000: 11,787

2001: 12,250

2002: 12,698

2003: 12,858

2004: 13,101

2005: 12,812

2006: 13,183

2007: 13,497

2008: 13,712

2009: 14,682

2010: 15,194

2011: 14,540

Source: Youngstown State University and Vindicator files

By Denise Dick

denise_dick@vindy.com

YOUNGSTOWN

An enrollment drop at Youngstown State University means the loss of an additional $4.5 million from the university’s general fund.

YSU reported that enrollment for fall semester dropped 4.3 percent, or 654 students, from the same time last year.

The number of students enrolled fell from 15,194 in fall 2010 to 14,540 this semester. In August, the university originally had estimated enrollment was down 2.5 percent, based on first-day head count.

Because YSU budgeted for a 1 percent increase in full-time-equivalent enrollment this year, the decline means a loss of about $4.5 million from what was budgeted for the general fund.

That’s in addition to an already-projected $1.7 million deficit. YSU’s general-fund budget is $159 million this fiscal year.

In a statement, YSU President Cynthia E. Anderson said that the university’s budgetary challenges are significant.

“This unexpected drop in enrollment and the resulting loss in revenue makes the situation worse,” she said. “We are now facing serious financial circumstances that will require difficult decisions and sacrifices, even beyond what we have been discussing to this point.”

She said she wants to ensure students that their success will remain “the focal point of all we do and that we will continue to maintain and enhance our quality academic and student services on campus.”

This marks only the second time since 2000 that enrollment has slipped. The number of students enrolled is 23 percent higher than in 2000.

The drop comes just a year after the university posted a record enrollment number.

The 15,194 students enrolled for the fall 2010 semester marked a 3.5-percent increase from fall 2009. It was the highest enrollment since 1990, when the number of students on campus was 15,454.

“It had been very good these last several years, and it’s not good today,” said Ron Cole, university spokesman.

Jack Fahey, vice president for student affairs, said the university is in the process of examining the reasons for the enrollment decline.

“While we have had much success with enrollment over the last decade, we are very disappointed with these numbers,” he said.

Meanwhile YSU is in talks with two of its unions, trying to reach new contracts.

Last month, the university issued its last, best offer to the faculty union who rejected it. The union initially said its members would strike but reversed that decision, saying they wanted to continue negotiating.

A major sticking point in the negotiations is health care.

Under the just-expired contract, faculty members pay 1.5-percent of a monthly salary for the family health-care plan.

Under YSU’s last, best offer, that faculty member would contribute 10 percent of the cost of the health-care premium in year one, and 12 percent and 15 percent in years two and three.

Cole said he hasn’t heard that the loss of additional revenue because of decreased enrollment will affect the amount the university is prepared to spend as outlined in its last, best offer.

Representatives from the administration, faculty union and Association of Classified Employees are to meet this afternoon with health-care costs expected to be on the agenda.


Comments

1ROBERT(138 comments)posted 3 years ago

This enrollment in view of the major inceases in enrollment at Kent State and Akron University are a real cause for concern. Without placing blame it is imperative that fixing this mess at YSU be the major task of both parties. Don't screw up the only bright spot in the Valley!

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2db(280 comments)posted 3 years ago

Tuition is up, enrollment is down, the university is $4,500,000 in the hole, yet the two government services unions demand more benefits with threats of strikes and much-publicized bickering. Who said that college teachers are intelligent?

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3taxpayer1001(274 comments)posted 3 years ago

I'd be willing to bet that the strike threat was a huge factor in decreased enrollment. Here's another thing to think about: the teaching staff received very large enrollment bonuses last year. Maybe if they didn't pass money out everywhere the tuition could have not been raised or the deficit would at least be lower. Also considering those were enrollment bonuses, should staff be giving that back now that it's so low due to them threatening to strike?

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4Anonymouse(36 comments)posted 3 years ago

Why was the budget based on a projection? Wouldn't it make sense to base the budget on something like last year's enrollment or less and end up with a surplus? This seems like irresponsible budgeting.

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5grand4dad(196 comments)posted 3 years ago

My thoughts exactly.

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6AtownAugie(697 comments)posted 3 years ago

Please remember YSU faculty and staff to thank Drs. Linkon and Russo for this. I wonder if Russo, head of the "Center of Working-Class Studies" will seek a federal grant to study the impact of the union strife -- aka the "Linkon-Russo Debacle" -- on the university, the valley and northeast Ohio. Intellectual honesty and all that, Dr. Russo. (And your wife, Dr. Linkon, can be co-author -- she's earned it.)

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7WhatRUAfraidOf(85 comments)posted 3 years ago

Sure, blame the faculty for the drop in enrollment. It's all their fault, the greedy sons-of-guns. It couldn't possibly be because the upper administration is so busy watching each other's backs that they didn't have time to recruit students that enrollment is down.

YSU isn't keeping up with the competition in its recruiting efforts, that is certain. YSU needs to make itself a place that people WANT to go to earn their degrees not a place where they HAVE to go because they lack resources to go elsewhere.

It would certainly help if YSU weren't 15 years behind the competition in creative uses of technology. It's embarrassing when 130 out of 150 contract renewal letters for professional staff are sent out with errors on them because certain members of the HR department refuse to utilize the institution-wide system to generate them.

Efficient and creative use of technology provides significant advantages to Kent State and Akron in both attracting and recruiting students. Both institutions reward employees, NOT monetarily by the way, for devising new ways to exploit existing systems to attract high-quality students. Perhaps YSU might want to give it a try?

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8jetercp(67 comments)posted 3 years ago

being a YSU grad i can tell you that i am proud of my education, but do certainly believe i drastically overpaid for it. Im not too worried about YSU losing money, might be a little bit of a wake up call...

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9northsideart(111 comments)posted 3 years ago

Enrollment dropped significantly when Sweet left Cleveland State. It was in the negative within a couple years. A couple thousand students makes little to no difference in a university's finances. It's a fake way of bringing fake kudos to ineffective administrators. Those types of enrollment increases are also ethically wrong because the numbers are usually padded by students who have no business being in college and who will never graduate. All they will accomplishment is to add to the student loan bubble. They'll have nothing to show for their college experience beyond debt. They'll have no skills, no diploma and no job prospects. That was quite the scam that Sweet ran on the gullible people of the Mahoning Valley. He's YSU's George Bush.

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10northsideart(111 comments)posted 3 years ago

Enrollment dropped significantly when Sweet left Cleveland State. It was in the negative within a couple years. A couple thousand students makes little to no difference in a university's finances. It's a fake way of bringing fake kudos to ineffective administrators. Those types of enrollment increases are also ethically wrong because the numbers are usually padded by students who have no business being in college and who will never graduate. All they will accomplishment is to add to the student loan bubble. They'll have nothing to show for their college experience beyond debt. They'll have no skills, no diploma and no job prospects. That was quite the scam that Sweet ran on the gullible people of the Mahoning Valley. He's YSU's George Bush.

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11southsidedave(4780 comments)posted 3 years ago

When will it all end?

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12walter_sobchak(1910 comments)posted 3 years ago

When enrollment was up over the last few years, bonuses were handed out, including to ACE members. Now, that enrollment is down, it's time for some give-backs! Maybe the new EGCC is drawing students away that need remedial work before entering a university.

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13northsideart(111 comments)posted 3 years ago

I don't believe for one second that a shortage of funds at that joint can be so easily blamed on a drop in enrollment. You need to see the big picture. Years of mismanagement would be a good start.

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14Boar7734(66 comments)posted 3 years ago

Drone, believe your $600 and $1275 numbers are annual numbers not monthly. That is $50 per month and $106.25. ($40,000*.015 =$600) By moving to a 10%,12.5% & 15% of plan cost, which is very low, this covers the plan cost vs salary issue you noted.

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15Owlguin(49 comments)posted 3 years ago

This basically translates to about $5,600 per student that the university is getting. If they have fewer students, then they should have less cost. In any case, YSU needs to stop focusing on student count and begin focusing on accepting students who are prepared and can compete, and who have SAT and ACT scores that prove that...and STOP the open enrollment policy. If the academic reputation of the university improves, enrollment will follow, and the entire Valley will benefit immensely.

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16Owlguin(49 comments)posted 3 years ago

PS, to those of you who would choose to lay blame with the faculty, I promise you that there are universities out there who will hire the best we have and who have the money to do it. That of course will result in YSU being left with Faculty who wouldn't be hired elsewhere. If that is what you want for the future of Youngstown then so be it.

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17commoncitizen(961 comments)posted 3 years ago

If the enrollment is down does that mean LESS teachers(professors)? Or just less students per class?

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18Freeatlast(1991 comments)posted 3 years ago

Glad he is not my daughters boyfriend
Looks like Stan the loser

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19Veleuk(18 comments)posted 3 years ago

@Owlguin

"...That of course will result in YSU being left with Faculty who wouldn't be hired elsewhere..."

Who are these faculty members? Every student should be advised to avoid taking their classes. If you will not name names, then you provide nothing more than a talking point.

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20Observer123(20 comments)posted 3 years ago

Veleuk:

There are plenty of internet-based resources out there to get an idea of who is "good" or "bad" on any campus. Most are anonymous and subjective (for example www.ratemyprofessors.com) but they give a general idea of classroom quality.

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21Eastsider7(9 comments)posted 3 years ago

At least two professors who had officially retired are who are now working in the Provost offices managed to receive nice pay increases in advance of these talks. Not too bad a deal making six figures over your state pension. I do agree with Walter that the Eastern Gateway did take in students who would otherwise have gone directly to YSU. Why the decrease is even news is beyond me. The last two years were as everyone knows higher numbers than had been realized in quite some time. Those numbers were certainly not the norm so how can we even refer to the present enrollment numbers as being "low" in comparison? Lower than the highest it had been in quite some time? well then, sure, they ARE "lower". It is all about posturing and spin. The Governor gave the orders and ,right or wrong, the University negotiators will not back off from their wobbly stance.

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22danny1436(2 comments)posted 3 years ago

I think I may know of an incident that has to do with decreased enrollment. I am currently a student at YSU but not registered for this semester. I tried to register but I had a hold on my account because I was under academic probation. This has happened before and I know of many students under the same hold. NONE of them (including myself) are enrolled this semester because without warning, the Dean decided to not reinstate students that were suspended and had not registered 2 weeks before the semester started. This has NEVER been an issue for anyone. I am disgusted. Without warning, for the first time in 5 years, I was black balled from attending this semester by a new policy that I was not informed about. This is four full time students to account for and I’m sure there are many more with the same story! Go Guins!

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