Adams State Trustees approve Financial Plan of Action

(08-25-2017)

The Board of Trustees for Adams State University today authorized the university administration to formulate a contingency plan to right-size staff in the event on-campus enrollment continues to decline.

The board approved a motion that authorizes "the administration of Adams State University to prepare a contingency plan to right-size the campus, in a manner which supports the board's long-term priorities as embodied in the ASU 2020 Plan, and which is complimentary with other parallel strategies to ensure ASU's financial stability, which may include a reduction in workforce, and directs the administration to communicate openly and deliberately with ASU faculty, administration and students to minimize concerns to this end."

"We do not anticipate layoffs. We intend to address this as much as possible through retirements and attrition," said Adams State President Beverlee J. McClure. Currently, enrollment in on-campus undergraduate, semester-based credit courses is down approximately 6 percent from last fall. Total enrollment, including distance courses, is down 3 percent. "We hope to decrease this gap by our census date, September 6." She added the contingency plan would be developed based on data and enrollment trends and by working with campus constituent groups.

Trustee Cleave Simpson, chair of the board's Finance Committee, said the operating budget for fiscal year 2017-18 is balanced, with $700,000 in savings from vacant positions. In addition, the university recently restructured its debt, resulting in a reserve of $1 million.

"We anticipated achieving this savings through attrition and continued restructuring and realignment of personnel and services. We were comfortable with this projection, as we had the $1 million that could serve as a buffer if we did not achieve the full $700,000 in vacancy savings," he said. Noting that each 1% of enrollment equates to $171,000, Simpson explained a 3 percent enrollment drop would decrease tuition revenue by $513,000.

"As the Board of Trustees, our top responsibility is fiduciary. A contingency plan will equip us to respond to further enrollment decreases in a manner that makes sense and assures a stable financial foundation for Adams State," Simpson said.

McClure added the enrollment decrease would have been greater, had Adams State not recently made changes to its Extended Studies program. All Extended Studies courses are now semester based, as opposed to the previous "open enrollment" format, which allotted one year to complete certain courses.

The university's enrollment has declined since reaching a historic high in 2010.

By Julie Waechter