This article was originally published on the UConn Today Web site on December 12, 2011.
By: Michael Kirk
UConn President Susan Herbst and University CFO Richard Gray held a town hall-style meeting Monday to discuss UConn’s budget, spending priorities, and tuition and fee rates. As part of the discussion, they outlined examples of proposals that would allow the University to fund expanded faculty hiring through tuition and fee increases.
To view Gray’s presentation, click here.
“These meetings are to let people know what our thinking is when it comes to our finances, and begin a dialogue about where we want to go from here,” said Herbst. “Obviously, we’re still in the discussion stage regarding tuition and fees, but our institutional priority is hiring additional faculty in order to decrease UConn’s student-to-faculty ratio, expand course offerings, and help students to graduate on time. What role tuition and fees could play in that is an important discussion to have on campus.”
The extraordinary growth in UConn’s student enrollment has far outpaced the growth in faculty; from 1995 to 2011 undergraduate enrollment increased by 53 percent – from 14,667 to 22,472 – while the number of faculty at UConn has increased by only 16 percent over the same period – 1,148 to 1,330. UConn’s student-to-faculty ratio was 14-to-1 in 1996; it is now 18-to-1 – the University’s goal is for the ratio to be 15-to-1.
“UConn fought very hard to become a top 20 university, and we need to do everything we can to stay on that trajectory,” said Herbst. “So it is pivotal that we identify ways to hire more faculty to get the student-to-faculty ratio down to where it should be so we can best serve our students.”
A second town hall meeting is scheduled for Thursday, Dec. 15. The Board of Trustees ultimately decides tuition and fee rates.
Among the top 25 public universities in the nation – UConn ranked 19th in the most recent U.S. News listing – UConn had the third lowest tuition increase last year at 2.4 percent. UConn’s 2012 tuition and mandatory fee cost places it in the middle of the top 53 public universities in the U.S. at 26th.
About 15,000 UConn students received financial aid in 2011; the rate at which UConn graduates default on their debt is 2.4 percent; the national rate is 7 percent.