President Wollman addresses campus enrollment, financial issues

By Logan Lilly
Editor-in-Chief/The Spectator

For the past four years Edinboro University has started off the academic year with bad news. However, according to University President Julie Wollman, this year finally looks a bit brighter.

This year the enrollment of new students is finally increasing compared to the previous year. Enrollment overall is still down, but for the first time in a while, the new class coming in is larger than the previous year.

“We’re doing a bit better than we predicted, but we know students drop out during the first two weeks so we’re pretty much where we thought we would be,” Wollman said.

While the increase in enrollment is a good sign for Edinboro University there will still be many financial troubles to overcome.

The amount of state funding has continued to decline and has plummeted since 2003. President Wollman stressed that because of this continuing decline of funding the university is becoming increasingly more dependent on enrollment.

“We’re much more dependent on enrollment than we were,” Wollman said. “One of the biggest things we’re working on now is increasing enrollment and retention so we have our continuing students come back.”

One of the methods being used to keep students on campus is to improve the quality of the student experience on campus. Advising is one area in particular that President Wollman believes needs improvement.

“We know that there are some fantastic faculty advisors on campus, but we also know it’s not consistent enough,” Wollman said. “Faculty need more information to help the range of students they’re advising. There are many, varied needs among our student body.”

Another method the university is implementing to improve retention of students is by improving the customer relations for students. President Wollman expressed she no longer wants students to have to run all over campus just to get the help they need.

To help increase customer relations, President Wollman is starting a customer relations training program for all of that staff that will start later in September.

Although enrollment is starting to increase with the new freshman class enrollment and retention overall is still down, which causes financial troubles.

While Edinboro ended the financial year by nearly erasing last year’s deficit through employee attrition and by reducing the dependence on temporary faculty, President Wollman is still expecting a deficit.

“We’re going into this financial year again predicting a deficit because unless we can increase revenue or cut expenses that’s what we’ll have,” Wollman stated.

Wollman said that she wanted to avoid retrenching faculty as a means to make up for the deficit, but understands that cuts in other areas will be necessary.

“If someone retires or resigns we won’t fill their position unless it is completely necessary to the student experience and success,” Wollman said.

Despite a decrease in enrollment and financial troubles Edinboro is still receiving academic acknowledgments.

President Wollman proudly expressed that Edinboro is still ranked number one in Pennsylvania for animation programs and one of the top schools in Pa. for return on investment. Several new accolades the university has received this summer includes: being ranked as one of the top schools in the nation for Computer Game Design, number 53 nationally and number 21 on the East Coast, as well as, online education courses ranked amongst the best in the nation for education and nursing by U.S. News and World Report.

One thing in particular President Wollman expressed that she wants to keep the same this year is the feeling of helpfulness of people on campus.

“A lot of students have been saying they love being here because the people are so nice and helpful,” Wollman said. “I don’t want that to ever change. I want them to feel that way all the time.”

Logan Lilly is the editor-in-chief of The Spectator. He can be reached at (814) 732-2266.