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Budget Recommendation Committee meeting recap

Members review enrollment trends and engage in a final discussion over Phase II Budget allocation.

By Josie Lavender

July 27, 2021

Aerial image of JSSB and summer foliage.The Metropolitan State University of Denver Budget Recommendation Committee met Friday for the last time before this week’s much-anticipated Phase II Budget vote. The discussion opened with an enrollment update and insights into enrollment-outreach survey responses.

Enrollment update

As of Friday:

  • Fall Preliminary Enrollment Report
    • State-funded full-time-equivalent students are down 11.7% compared with 2020 (a 0.45-percentage-point decrease from last week).
    • Head count is down 8.79% compared with 2020.

As of July 19:

  • Fall Applications
    • Applied is down 7.64%.
    • Accepted is down 1.95%.
    • Registered is down 11.16%.

Although MSU Denver enrollment is down, the data are in line with national enrollment trends. Free Application for Federal Student Aid completions are down nationwide, with high school senior completion rates down 4.82% overall and Black and Hispanic high school senior completion rates down 8.1%. Recently, the Department of Education reduced barriers for students seeking financial aid by easing verification requirements to consist of only a high school diploma or GED along with identity verification. As a result, more than 1,777 MSU Denver students were automatically awarded financial aid.

Fall enrollment-outreach survey insights

Students were recently surveyed about whether they would enroll with MSU Denver for fall, and 994 responses have been collected so far. Of those, 552 participants responded with “Yes” and 178 responded with “Maybe,” resulting in a total of 730 potential students for the fall semester. Of those 730 students, 42.91% requested assistance with registration.

The University will host a virtual registration event Aug. 4 from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. RSVPs will close Sunday. The event includes a drawing for five $500 scholarship opportunities for students registered for six or more credit hours by Aug. 15.

Phase II Budget update

Thanks to MSU Denver's strong cash position this year, leadership plans to propose investing some of the one-time federal funding toward financing temporary positions for three years to address workload issues. This strategy would free up some base funds to address current compensation challenges.

Enrollment-projection scenarios ranged between net $1.1 million (assuming fall enrollment is down 13%) to $7.6 million (assuming fall enrollment is down 7%) remaining for allocation. A 1% across-the-board increase in pay rates would total just over $3 million; a 3% increase would be more than $6 million.

Comments and considerations

Christine Márquez-Hudson, vice president of University Advancement and executive director of the Foundation, expressed the importance of examining bottlenecks that prevent the University from successfully enrolling the number of students MSU Denver could serve. This includes supporting departments such as Admissions, Financial Aid, Human Resources and Student Support Services.

“We’ve made a lot of progress with convincing the state legislature to provide MSU Denver with more resources. If we don’t deliver on that promise, if we continue to shrink our enrollment or to be unable to increase retention because we don’t have the staffing to support the retention of our students, then we’re not going to get any more money,” said Márquez-Hudson.

George Middlemist, Ph.D., associate vice president for Administration/CFO, expressed support with a commitment to maximize the resources available to staff and faculty to successfully serve a full student population.

“The No. 1 priority for us is the existing staff. We’ll help them best as possible, whether it’s in terms of annual increases or annual increases with stipends,” Middlemist said.

Next steps

Budget Recommendation Committee members will meet Friday to cast their final votes for the Phase II Budget.

Recommendation topics:

1. The elements of the compensation package

  • Do we maintain the College and University Professional Association minimum for faculty?
  • What across-the-board increase would you like to see?
    • What do you want to see us investing in competitive salaries?
    • What do you want to see us investing in faculty compression?

2. Should we consider one-time stipends for faculty and staff?

3. Do you want to allocate any base to other needs?

Topics: Events, Funding, Inclusive leadership

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