CENTRAL WASHINGTON UNIVERSITY Board of Trustees July 29, 2021
EXECUTIVE SUMMARY – Recovery Planning and Investment
Background. At the board’s February 2021 meeting, trustees expressed the need to plan strategically for the emergence from the pandemic in fall 2021. Rather than looking backward to “pre-COVID” budgets, the trustees directed that the university should look forward and construct budgets based on the work needed to support student success and to ensure a stable and effective educational environment going forward. The board unanimously approved a motion directing staff to “develop recommendations for long-term Investments that will position the university to deliver a unique, relevant and high-quality educational experience that differentiates CWU from other Washington universities.” Trustees continued the recovery discussion in May, discussing several opportunities for one-time investment, including some that could occur in phases over more than one year. The board directed staff to work with the new president upon his arrival to develop recommendations for further consideration in July. Since Dr. Wohlpart took office on June 7, the Executive Leadership Team has focused on investing in projects that will ensure the future sustainability of the university, with a special focus on increasing enrollment and retention. As well, the fall 2021 budget picture has become clearer, further informing the prioritization of need. Budget information : The FY22 budget assumes 10,700 total, tuition-paying students in fall 2021, down 450 from fall 2020. For every 100 students that don’t enroll, CWU loses $500k in net tuition revenue; loss of 100 first-year students equals a loss of nearly $2 million in total revenues (tuition, fees, housing, dining, etc.). Federal HEERF III funds have been held in reserve. Nearly all of the $11 million in federal relief funds from HEERF III will be used to offset revenue losses across the entire institution (state/tuition, fees, auxiliaries) as a result of the pandemic. If CWU does experience a decline in enrollment of 450 students, HEERF III funds will be exhausted relatively quickly. CWU faces the challenge of addressing both the deficit an enrollment dip creates, while increasing investment necessary to return enrollment to more robust levels. Retention: A critical component of student success and strategic enrollment management is retaining students after they enroll. For the past several years CWU has been researching and implementing practices to eliminating barriers to retention. These practices include constructing a supportive climate in which students learn, and disseminating enhancements to teaching and learning that will make the most of the Central Washington University classroom as an essential retention site.
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