109th Convocation gets Conn’s academic year off to a sharp start
Applications for admission to the Class of 2013 are on track to exceed last year’s – and possibly reach a record.
That's good news not only for the quality of the academic experience, but for the College's financial outlook.
Enrolling a strong class is the best way to maintain the quality and character of a Connecticut College education. And because the College is highly tuition-dependent, maintaining student enrollment is the highest financial priority.
In a recent memo to staff and faculty, President Higdon said the number of transfer students is strong, and that early decision data also look promising. But he cautioned that many enrollment factors are still unknown -- including the yield on admission decisions this spring and whether the economy will affect the number of students returning next fall.
Higdon said the College entered the downturn from a position of strength: with finances managed conservatively, staffing lean, and checks and balances that contain spending. Because of that, the College hasn't had to cut programs, freeze hiring or take steps that other colleges have announced in recent weeks.
"For the past decade we have been living within our institutional means and steadily strengthening the College’s balance sheet," Higdon said. The College isn't immune to the crisis but is in a strong position to absorb setbacks without affecting the quality of the educational experience.
The College's momentum is continuing:
* a new $8.5 million fitness center opens in August.
* the College has added two new faculty positions this year and is filling all vacancies.
* applications are near a record high, with strong marketing and outreach by the College.
To reduce the impact on students and families, the 2009-10 increase in the comprehensive fee will be smaller than in prior years, Higdon said. The College is also building higher contingencies into the budget, and is planning a $1.5 million increase in the financial aid budget for 2009-10 (more than double last year’s increase) to ensure that the College can continue to meet the full demonstrated need of students, including those whose families have been affected by the economy.