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Record Number of U. Portland First Year Students Withdraw, Causing Major Cash Crunch

Record Number of U. Portland First Year Students Withdraw, Causing Major Cash Crunch

“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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The Gentle Grizzly | September 3, 2022 at 11:37 am

Gee. That’s a shame. -chortle-

The could save a few bucks by eliminating the DIE department first

    MajorWood in reply to buck61. | September 3, 2022 at 1:51 pm

    I was thinking of eliminating “all administrators,” but they say I am a dreamer.

    I wonder how many kids withdrew because their parents decided that maybe Portland was no longer a safe city. Reputations have consequences.

So, they had a projected deficit of $4.5 million *before* the withdrawals they didn’t see coming? With something like 4,400 students? So, they set their own prices, and they’re loosing something like $1,000 / year / student, at 35k / year?

These are the smart people running colleges, right? Remind me.

    healthguyfsu in reply to BierceAmbrose. | September 4, 2022 at 1:58 pm

    Couple of things not meant to Garner sympathy but just explain reality.

    They are private and don’t have supplemental state income.

    At some price point, you achieve the max revenue based on the intersection of supply and demand. It seems that intersection is well below operating budget neutrality but you still want to minimize loss in a suboptimal scenario.

Did they have a vax mandate and refuse religious and medical exemptions?

The first to go will be small private U’s like this one (and many have already failed). I have former colleagues who teach at a couple of them and they are concerned about enrollments and the future of their institutions.
We’ve already seen public university and college consolidation in PA and to a lesser extent in NJ and it cost faculty jobs — 800 in PA, I understand.
College is now viewed as less essential and there is a smaller population of recent high-school graduates. We are at the beginning of a great shaking out, a winnowing, perhaps.

    Beaufort in reply to John M. | September 5, 2022 at 7:27 pm

    Could it be that the product being sold by colleges is out of date or substandard and simply does not have the value in the market that it once had?

When withdrawing, do they get their deposit returned?