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Sustainable affordability. What’s that?

It’s Wesleyan’s commitment to manage its budget and resources for the present and the future, while also ensuring that students from all backgrounds can afford to come here.

We’ve raised $320 million toward our $400 million goal in the THIS IS WHY campaign. Support of financial aid is the campaign’s single most important goal, at $200 million, and $150 million of that will be endowed funds.

Efficient management is essential to a sustainable future. We’ve reduced expenditures without affecting the academic experience of students and raised new revenues for an annual savings of $30 million. We continue to seek efficiencies by, for instance, investing in technologies that will lower our energy costs. Continue Reading »

In an effort to dramatically increase the number of veterans it enrolls, Wesleyan is entering into a new partnership with The Posse Foundation, Inc. Since 1989, The Posse Foundation has helped colleges and universities to recruit exceptional public high school students who may be overlooked by traditional college selection processes. Through its newest initiative, the Veterans Posse Program, the foundation identifies talented veterans who are interested in pursuing bachelor’s degrees, and places them at top tier colleges and universities, where they receive four-year scholarships. Wesleyan is only the second institution to partner with Posse in this brand new initiative, and will welcome its first “posse” of 10 veterans to campus in fall 2014. Continue Reading »

In the past year we have made significant changes to our economic model. For decades we have followed the same pattern: tuition increases well above inflation, and financial aid increases that go far beyond that. This budget model isn’t sustainable. Over the past 20 years, the percentage of the tuition charges that goes to financial aid has risen steadily. In the past, Wesleyan dealt with this issue by raising loan requirements (replacing grants with loans), and by taking more money out of the endowment (or just spending gifts rather than directing them to the endowment). For the long-term health of the institution this had to change. Continue Reading »

2012 Financial Aid Forum

President Roth attended a financial aid forum on September 24, 2012, hosted by Wesleying.

Via the Need Blind Focus Group blog.

A week ago, Gil Skillman, professor of economics and former Chair of the Faculty at Wesleyan, sent an email out to the need-blind activism listserv detailing his thoughts on the University’s situation. As Chair of the Faculty, he participated in Board of Trustees and administrative meetings where the policy change was considered and crafted. Skillman’s stated goal is to “summarize [his] understanding of the bases for [the University’s concerns about the effectiveness and sustainability]” of the need-blind policy. The message is reproduced in full below; it is unedited except for my inclusion of a note at the end of the text. Continue Reading »

Via The Wesleyan Argus.

The Argus recently sat down with President Michael Roth for a meeting on a wide range of campus issues. Part of the discussion focused on Roth’s response to student concerns about the end of need-blind admissions at the University. Because of the high level of student interest in this topic as well as Roth’s particularly comprehensive answers, The Argus Editorial staff chose to print Roth’s remarks on the need-blind debate in full. Continue Reading »

I am grateful for the various suggestions alumni and current students have submitted for how Wesleyan might offer a greater percentage of its revenue for scholarships. There is a fairly straightforward equation: the more we spend on providing access to the university, the less there is to spend on providing the education to which students want access. Yes, there are certain things we can do to increase revenue: we can charge (those who pay) more; we can spend more of our fundraised dollars (rather than putting the money in the endowment); we can increase spending from the endowment. We can also start new programs or enterprises that will subsidize the university’s core programs. We have considered the first group of alternatives, and we don’t think they are sustainable. We are also considering possibilities for ventures that might subsidize our core operations, but none of these have yet convinced us they will be successful, and like all such ventures they entail some financial risk.

Here’s a general snapshot of our 2012 operating expenses. Continue Reading »

In my previous post, I described some of the steps Wesleyan is taking toward what I called “sustainable affordability.” One step is almost uncontroversial: we will no longer raise tuition rates in excess of inflation rates. Over time, this should mean that we will no longer be among the most expensive schools in the country. Some commentators have suggested that we more aggressively charge those families who can most afford to pay. I don’t think this is a serious option. We can (and we will) ask families with economic capacity to contribute to our financial aid scholarship funds.  Their philanthropy is more important than ever, but we will not build philanthropy into price. Continue Reading »

Via President Roth’s blog.

Just before Reunion-Commencement weekend, I discussed changing some of our assumptions for budget planning with the Board of Trustees. This followed several months of discussions with faculty, students and staff on campus. After the February board meeting, I met in an open session with the Wesleyan Student Assembly, as did the treasurer and chair of the faculty in subsequent weeks. I also led a discussion of budget priorities in an affordability meeting with students, and reported on our economic planning to faculty at various meetings. Throughout the year, Joshua Boger and I have been discussing these ideas with alumni groups. Continue Reading »

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