Excerpts from the State of the University Address by Sharon Hahs

September 17, 2013:
“Undergraduate Enrollment and Credit Hours: Enrollments have taken a dip from last year and the two previous years. In fact, we have lost roughly 10% of our student credit hours over the last four years.”

“These enrollment trends are certainly a cause for concern. Nationally, we know that the high school graduate population is leveling off and declining for the near future, and that we must increase our market share to stay even.”

“Let me turn to fiscal matters. We continue to live in challenging times. The development of our budgets and the stewardship of our resources need greater and greater care and attention every year.”

“Our state appropriation for FY2014 has not decreased from the previous year for the first time in several years. Essentially this was due to an anticipated action for pension reform that would require universities to take over the employer share of pension costs, action which did not materialize in this legislative session. Regardless, the University will almost certainly have a new and significant pension cost next year.”
“Regrettably, we will incur a major decrease in anticipated tuition revenue (income fund) due to enrollment declines. In our preliminary budget that we took to the Board in June, we anticipated level enrollments. We now know that will not happen. We are now using a projection of a 6 percent decrease in fall enrollments and a 3 percent decrease in spring enrollments. We experienced a 7 percent decline in summer enrollments. The effect on our operating budget is a $2.0 million decrease from the June budget estimate.”

“This tuition revenue is not sufficient to cover our financial commitments and critical strategic priorities.”

“And, for the third consecutive year, we have accommodated the delay in receiving our state appropriation. At the beginning of this fiscal year, July 1, the state still owed Northeastern over $11 million from last fiscal year.”

“As state support effectively dwindles and we are presented with more and more operational challenges, we must take steps to become ever more self-sufficient… In order for Northeastern to thrive in this difficult climate and economy, we must proactively build our financial security.”