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Consultant: Western Connecticut State U. in ‘Crisis’ Due to Low Enrollment, ‘Higher Operating Costs’

Consultant: Western Connecticut State U. in ‘Crisis’ Due to Low Enrollment, ‘Higher Operating Costs’

“WCSU simply does not have the luxury of time … it cannot afford to hesitate in making bold decisions or to permit key decision-making processes to drag on interminably”

We are seeing this all over. The higher education map will look very different in a few years.

WTNH News reports:

With steep enrollment drop, Western Connecticut State University is ‘in crisis,’ consultant says

Western Connecticut State University faces a dire future, with a steep enrollment decline and sharply higher operating costs than similar schools, a consultant has concluded.

“The institution is still somewhat in a state of shock over the late “discovery” of the true extent of the financial challenges the University faces,” investigators from the National Center for Higher Education Management Systems wrote. “WCSU remains an institution in crisis.”

The consultants recommend that the Danbury school should cut personal expenditures by $10 million by eliminating part-time faculty and through other “difficult reduction decisions.”

“WCSU simply does not have the luxury of time … it cannot afford to hesitate in making bold decisions or to permit key decision-making processes to drag on interminably.’’

The concerning drop in enrollment, together with unusually high spending per student, has forced the school’s financial reserves into the “negative by an estimated $2.3 million.”

Although more than 75% of these students are commuters, an excessive amount of personnel and resources are aimed at students living on campus.

For a while, WCSU has struggled to enroll students from areas outside of their local regions, but even Danbury has now shown a reduction in undergraduate enrollments. The school is one of four regional state universities in addition to the University of Connecticut and the community college system.

“WCSU has neither shifted to serving relatively more older students nor has it attracted more students of color to compensate for its difficulty in attracting college-aged White, non-Hispanic students and to provide better and more representative service to its community.”

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Comments

The only two universities that I can name in Connecticut are UConn and Yale. In a state as small as CT maybe they don’t need multiple community colleges, who somehow elevated themselves to “universities” bleeding the taxpayers dry.

    Susan1234 in reply to Chet. | December 27, 2022 at 1:25 pm

    As someone who live most of her life in Fairfield County, CT, where Western is located, I can say that what you wrote is not exactly correct.

    Connecticut is in many places densely populated, and is very much able to support many private colleges and universities, including (in addition to Yale), Wesleyan University, Connecticut College, Univ. of Hartford, Hartt School of Music, to name a few. None of these schools are new, and with the high tuition, I doubt that they are bleeding taxpayers dry. As for the state schools, only UConn has any reputation, and the satellite schools in the system, which includes Western, were always known to be substandard quality. It was always a matter of time.

    jakebizlaw in reply to Chet. | December 27, 2022 at 9:30 pm

    The Connecticut State universities, and certainly Western, evolved from (Danbury) Normal School to State Teachers Colleges to State Colleges to State Universities. (A similar pattern took place in NJ, and I assume in many other states). 50 years ago while an undergrad at a Wesleyan I interned with the CT Higher Ed Commission which was interested in trying to ensure college curriculum and classroom spaces to serve manpower needs, beyond simply cranking out teachers, and tried to advance a methodology in my senior thesis. I suspect that the higher ed administrators have long since lost any focus on the job market. Now they are paying the price.

The Gentle Grizzly | December 26, 2022 at 2:12 pm

Have they winnowed down the course offerings to things that actually provide the tools for a future? Are the DIE staff terminated yet? What about the Deputy Assistant to the Vice President for Community Outreach?

JackinSilverSpring | December 26, 2022 at 4:45 pm

How many administrators does the university have? I would cut them faster than I would cut anything else.

    jakebizlaw in reply to henrybowman. | December 27, 2022 at 9:37 pm

    It once was rather frugal. 50 years ago, I remember red brick buildings at the state colleges and UConn; at Storrs, the only building with a/c was the library.

I am sure that the ruling Communist Party in CT…sorry, er, I mean the state government…will find a way to fund one of their Marxist indoctrination centers. It’s too important for them. They want the loyal party cadres that it produces.

In Germany, only 5% of the population go to the University. Most students stop school at 16, learn a trade, and start working.