April 23, 2010
Periodically I send messages to the campus community letting everyone know where things stand with our current budget and with budget preparations for the next academic year. During the economic crisis our country and state have been facing, these messages have become more frequent. Given where we are in the budget cycle, I thought it was important to send a message directly to you.
The college's financial picture is largely determined by three factors: the amount of state aid, tuition and enrollments. At this point in the year, we would normally have solid, if not complete, projections on each of these. But this is not a normal year. Forty-four of fifty states are experiencing budget deficits and these affect public colleges and universities. In New Hampshire, the governor and legislature are working to cut $200 million dollars from the state budget and have yet to determine the allocation to the University System of New Hampshire (USNH). The USNH Board of Trustees continues to examine options for setting tuition, with a commitment to keeping tuition increases as small as possible without sacrificing the quality of education. Finally, these are difficult financial times for students starting college. While the number of applications is up, we will not know for several weeks how many students have selected Keene State College.
I am in frequent communication with students, faculty and staff regarding efforts to reduce and control costs while preserving the quality of our programs. The Student Assembly recently completed its work of reviewing the cost of fee-supported activities in the coming year. Student Assembly leaders then shared their input with the USNH Board of Trustees, advocating for Keene State College and conveying the pressures faced by students and their families when meeting college costs.
I want to let you know specifically about one change that will have an impact on students. Traditionally we have waited until the middle of August or even the first week of classes to cancel low-enrolled courses. This is always too late to have a significant impact on our budget because it is impossible to move resources from low-demand areas to high-demand courses so suddenly. This year we will begin cancelling low-enrolled courses on May 7, so that we can add seats where there is high demand and make more efficient use of our resources. The Provost, Deans and Chairs will take into account requirements for majors. As always, whenever we cancel or make changes to a class that has been scheduled, affected students will receive an email to their mailcruiser address. The Provost and I will continue to communicate with Student Assembly leaders to address student concerns as they come forward. We ask you to do your part to assist us with these considerations.
I know that students in some programs prefer to wait until later in the summer to finalize their courses for fall. I encourage you to complete your registration by May 6 to reduce the chance that a course you need will be cancelled. By registering now, you make it possible for us to address the needs of our students more effectively and efficiently. As always, please contact your department chair with any questions about your courses and program requirements.
Thank you for your commitment to Keene State College. I want to assure you that we will work diligently to preserve the high quality academic programs and services we provide as well as contain costs to keep your study as affordable as possible.
Helen F. Giles-Gee