DANBURY, Conn. (WTNH) – 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.”
Transfer students, who have historically been a bright spot for the University, have also been on a downward trend over the past ten years.
The report also noted that the school’s faculty is also not diverse enough and fails to sufficiently mirror the student body, with an instructional staff that is around 80% white. Stakeholders believe that this discrepancy limits the success of students from underrepresented backgrounds.
Click Here for the full NCHEMS report on WCSU