“left the school $8.9 million behind where it expected to be this fall”
Progressives in higher education may end up being their own worst enemies.
Oregon Live reports:
Record number of 1st-year students withdraw from University of Portland, contributing to $13.4M shortfall
A near record number of first-year students signaled their intent to start classes at the University of Portland this fall, a seeming boon for the school after two years of small class sizes during the pandemic.
But then a record number canceled their deposits.
After originally receiving deposits from almost 1,100 students, the North Portland private university started classes this week with only 860 first-year students, one of its smallest incoming classes in the last decade, Eric Barger, the university’s vice president for financial affairs, wrote in an email to faculty and staff last week.
The record number of withdrawals and other missed budget projections have left the school $8.9 million behind where it expected to be this fall, according to Barger. As a result, the school has temporarily reduced its retirement plan contributions for faculty and staff and put a freeze on hiring as administrators figure out how they’re going to balance the budget.
“We optimistically were looking at the trends and the indicators and it all pointed upward,” said Michael Lewellen, vice president of marketing and communications. “We planned accordingly and things changed. And so, you have to pivot.”
Around 21% of students who put money down to attend the University of Portland backed out, three times the roughly 7% who withdraw in a typical year, Barger said.
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