Budget Update

Below please find an email sent out to the campus community on Nov. 30 regarding the College’s budget.

Dear Campus Community,

During their October meeting, the Board of Trustees approved a mid-year budget adjustment of $1.25 million in order to address this year’s out-of-state enrollment shortfall. The October adjustment was a proactive step taken in response to our preliminary enrollment numbers for the fall semester, and it also included our plan to make an additional correction of $250,000 in the near future. As I shared with you at that time, the College needed to address the financial consequences of a slight decrease in out-of-state student enrollment – a trend experienced by us as well as many universities with selective undergraduate admissions.

Now that the complete fall numbers are in, the income shortfall is greater than our original projection. In order to address these final enrollment numbers, which have a financial impact of $632,000 (for a total budgetary impact of $2.1 million), we will recommend to the Board of Trustees at their next meeting in January additional mid-year cost-savings.

I have asked each division to do a thoughtful and careful evaluation of their current personnel and operating budgets and determine how best to meet our strategic priorities while addressing our budget needs. Additional information about the process for identifying these new budget adjustments for the current year will be shared with you by your executive vice president or division head.

This is an important course correction for our institution. For years, the College has built its budget on an enrollment model (specifically, the mix of resident and non-resident students) that is proving unsustainable. We must be prudent and put our house in order, so to speak, by dealing with this new budget reality head on.

This budget discussion will not be limited to only the current fiscal year. Over the course of the next few months, we must address this new enrollment landscape as it pertains to our enrollment and financial model and plan accordingly for next year. This will give the institution the opportunity to restructure where appropriate and to ensure that the quality of a College of Charleston education will not be compromised.

And know that we will not be compromised when it comes to our academic and student experience. The College’s nearly 250-year history is proof of our resiliency and our dedication to our students. As former President Ted Stern believed, there are no problems, only challenges. And I agree with his philosophy. I know this exercise is not easy, nor pleasant, but our campus has the strength of character, creativity and time-tested fortitude to meet this current challenge and, most importantly, to overcome it.

Thank you for all of your hard work and your belief in the College of Charleston.