CCU’s $6.4 M shortfall shifts focus to increasing enrollment and cutting costs

News13 Digital First

CONWAY, SC (WBTW) – Departments across Coastal Carolina University make budget cuts to balance the multi-million-dollar shortfall university leaders attribute to a nationwide trend of declining college enrollment.  

A shortfall of $6.4 million has Coastal Carolina University balancing their budgets and considering new recruitment strategies to increase student enrollment, along with many other schools.

“We budgeted a two percent enrollment increase and our enrollment actually only commended 1.5% down from the prior year,” David Frost, CCU Chief Financial Officer said.

University administrators say CCU isn’t the only school undergoing this challenge.

“It is part of a national trend, almost every university in the country is making changes based on the population decreasing,” Dr. Daniel Ennis, CCU Provost and VP for Academic Affairs said.

Birth rates are a driving factor in higher education. The decline in births began in 2008 and declined from $4.25 M to $3.95 M in 2011.

Ennis tells News13 these early stats provided early indication this term was coming and while they will have to make some cut backs, they are prepared to handle the shortfall.

“In Coastal Carolina’s case we are very fortunate we have been successful over the years so we have reserves built up for these occasions so if we don’t recover our whole shortfall we have plenty of capacity and reserves to handle it,” Frost said.

Two techniques have been discussed by the university. The first will focus on academic recruitment to non-traditional students who started pursuing a college degree and never finished. The second objective is increasing outreach to nearby two-year schools to continue to gain access to more students.

“What we don’t want to do is affect what the student feels and sees on campus,” Frost said.

The decline in college enrollment hits many universities across the nation hard. “So this is the down part of the cycle but these cycles tend to reverse themselves naturally over time,” Ennis said.

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