When it comes to taking a closer look at finances, Malone is not alone. Universities all across the country are struggling.
Since 2009 (which was a peak year for enrollment and the university’s discount rate), all forms of enrollment have declined by about 20 percent, according to David King, university president, at the March 19 Student Senate meeting.
Decreased enrollment is not unique to Malone. National four-year private nonprofit college enrollment actually increased by 1.3 percent from fall 2012 to fall 2013, but total national college enrollment and total Ohio college enrollment both decreased by 1.5 percent from fall 2012 to fall 2013, according to projections created by the National Student Clearinghouse Research Center.
King said the university has experienced an 11 percent decrease in net tuition and fee revenue. This decline is an effect of declining student enrollment.
King also said at the Senate meeting that the number of students living in resident halls has decreased by about 20 to 22 percent since roughly 2009. While the decrease in students living on campus may partially be caused by the fact that 49 percent of students are commuters, it is also greatly influenced by the 20 percent decline in enrollment since 2009.
With fewer students living in residence halls, less revenue is being generated from the cost of room and board.
What higher education looks like is also changing.
According to The Sloan Consortium, over 7.1 million students took at least one online course during fall 2012.
Many students are also choosing to go to community colleges and career schools because they can receive cheaper and faster education than they could
at a traditional four-year college.
There are also fewer high school students graduating to go to college.
“Beginning around 1990 and continuing through about 2011, colleges and universities could count on an annually growing number of students graduating from the nation’s high schools,” said Western Interstate Commission for Higher Education. “But that period of abundance appears to be about to end. The nation is entering a period of modest decline in the number of graduates being produced, a decline that is closely tied to reduced births in the wake of the Baby Boom Echo.”
This increases the competition for colleges to recruit the fewer available high school students.
Since the number of students coming to Malone is shrinking, and may continue shrinking, King said the size of Malone should shrink accordingly. That is where academic and athletic program cuts come in.
Learn more about what budget cuts are being proposed here.