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