Unexpected tuition dollars ‘soften’ cuts
A few weeks after members of the faculty approached USF administrators with concerns over spending reductions to academic units and somber conversations ensued, USF Provost Ralph Wilcox delivered a bit of lighter news to the Faculty Senate on Wednesday: though the overall goals won’t change, due to an unexpected amount of incoming tuition, the reductions might be “softened.”
“We’re very fortunate that we’ve come to realize we expect to collect more tuition than we had projected this academic year, in large part because we have changed the mix of students — we have more international and out-of-state students than we projected,” Wilcox said. “We’re in the process of assessing those budget reduction targets, particularly in the Academic Affairs domain, and to the extent possible, starting to offset a portion of that reduction with this new revenue.”
Wilcox said the university expects to see a shift in the future to recruit more international and out-of-state “full-paying” students, or students who pay about three times the tuition rate of Florida residents, as the model for generating revenue in higher education continues to change.
According to USF InfoCenter, after the Drop/Add benchmark this semester, 42,579 in-state students are enrolled and 5,364 out-of-state students are enrolled, compared to the 43,201 in-state students and 4,445 out-of-state students enrolled at the same benchmark last fall.
Wilcox said the $9 million reduction goal for Academic Affairs remains in place, and the university is still working toward plans to it, but the additional revenue should “soften” the impact. In the meantime, Wilcox said he and USF President Judy Genshaft have been meeting with college deans and faculty members to see how the reductions will impact each college.
How the additional revenue will impact each college, he said, is still being worked out.
“We’ve asked to the extent possible, for everyone to hold harness impact on student and faculty success,” he said.