Trus­tees now fo­cused on re­cruit­ment, new ma­jor, more jobs as year ends

The Enterprise - - Front Page - By JAC­QUI ATKIELSKI jatkiel­ski@somd­news.com

St. Mary’s Col­lege of Mary­land trus­tees met Fri­day for the last time this aca­demic year and dis­cussed plans to im­prove re­cruit­ment and new aca­demic op­por­tu­ni­ties for stu­dents.

David Hau­ta­nen, vice pres­i­dent of en­roll­ment man­age­ment, said at the meet­ing the col­lege has re­ceived 1,680 ap­pli­ca­tions for the fall se­mes­ter.

About 369 first-time col­lege stu­dents have en­rolled for the next aca­demic year, Hau­ta­nen said, adding that the col­lege’s ad­mit­tance rate “is down to 79 per­cent, 2 per­cent lower” than last year.

Of the 1,655 first-time col­lege stu­dents who ap­plied for the fall 2017 se­mes­ter, 1,364 were of­fered ad­mis­sion to the col­lege and 342 en­rolled in classes.

The col­lege’s cur­rent ad­mit­tance rate,

or per­cent­age of ap­pli­cants who were of­fered ad­mis­sion, has been greater than 80 per­cent for a num­ber of years. Col­lege Pres­i­dent Tua­juanda Jor­dan sug­gested last year that an ad­mis­sion rate of over 80 per­cent is “not ap­pro­pri­ate for an hon­ors col­lege.”

Col­lege trustee Peter Bruns asked Hau­ta­nen if alumni are be­ing used as a re­cruit­ment re­source.

Al­though Hau­ta­nen said it’s “crit­i­cal we en­gage the alumni in this process,” he said they’ve not been uti­lized as of yet.

Col­lege staff have “had some nice wins” with this year’s ap­pli­cants, who are “strong aca­dem­i­cally,” Hau­ta­nen said.

He said the po­ten­tial stu­dents have an av­er­age high school GPA of 3.4, or a high B, which is the col­lege’s goal. Stu­dents ad­mit­ted dur­ing the fall 2017 se­mes­ter had an av­er­age GPA of 3.33.

Hau­ta­nen said the re­cruit­ment ef­forts did have an im­pact on the col­lege’s bud­get, as staff had “spent more to en­roll this class” with ad­di­tional fi­nan­cial aid and other schol­ar­ships, he said.

Hau­ta­nen said re­cruit­ment ef­forts to bring stu­dents from Mont­gomery County are work­ing, and there are more legacy stu­dents, or those whose par­ents or other fam­ily mem­bers at­tended the col­lege, ap­ply­ing as well. Trus­tees ap­proved ear­lier this month a new tu­ition rate for stu­dents from the Wash­ing­ton area.

The in-state 2018-2019 tu­ition rate is $11,878, while the new D.C. rate is set to $21,878 and the out-of-state tu­ition rate is $27,640. This doesn’t in­clude other fees like room

and board.

En­rol l - ment is also up for stu­dents who vis­ited the col­lege be­fore­hand and those who didn’t ap­ply for fi­nan­cial aid, Hau­ta­nen said.

He said col­lege staff have a goal of en­rolling 100 trans­fer stu­dents for next fall, but so far only 46 stu­dents have done so.

Hau­ta­nen said this year’s open house event on April 21 yielded 150 of the 200 stu­dents who sched­uled to visit. He said last year’s open house had the same num­ber of stu­dents sign up, but only 98 vis­ited.

He said other re­cruit­ment ef­forts in­clude

vis­it­ing an in­ter­na­tional school in China this sum­mer and bring­ing on an ad­di­tional staff mem­ber to strengthen the col­lege’s pres­ence in Mont­gomery schools.

Col­lege staff have the goal of rais­ing the over­all num­ber of out-of-state stu­dents to 13 per­cent by the fall 2019 se­mes­ter, ac­cord­ing to the agenda. Staff exceeded their goal for this up­com­ing se­mes­ter for out-of-state stu­dents and first-gen­er­a­tion stu­dents. How­ever, staff are still work­ing to reach in­ter­na­tional and mi­nor­ity stu­dents.

In other busi­ness, the col­lege trus­tees ap­proved a new ma­jor in women, gen­der and sex­u­al­ity stud­ies and new mi­nors in busi­ness and as­tro­physics.

Bruns said stu­dents are ask­ing for the mi­nors, al­though he warned trus­tees that “the ex­tra de­mands” of the busi­ness mi­nor could put a strain on the col­lege’s com­puter cen­ter.

With the new ma­jor, Bruns said they would build “on the ex­ist­ing model and mi­nor … there’s a lot of sup­port for this.”

The trus­tees also ap­proved their fis­cal 2019

bud­get, which in­cluded adding 12 po­si­tions “pre­vi­ously elim­i­nated due to bud­get cuts and a va­ri­ety of new po­si­tions in var­i­ous de­part­ments across the col­lege,” a col­lege rep­re­sen­ta­tive said in an email Mon­day.

The pro­posed fis­cal year op­er­at­ing bud­get to­tals $69.29 mil­lion, with state funds at $26.04 mil­lion. The bud­get is de­pen­dent on hav­ing 1,424 full-time un­der­grad­u­ate stu­dents, or 13 more stu­dents than the prior year as­sump­tions.

In 2017, the col­lege ex­pe­ri­enced an en­roll­ment short­fall and lost $2.7 in an­tic­i­pated tu­ition and other fees. The 12 jobs cut prior to the fi­nal­iza­tion of the fis­cal 2018 bud­get in­cluded jobs in the li­brary, in­for­ma­tion tech­nol­ogy, ad­vance­ment oper­a­tions and the phys­i­cal plant.

Burns

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