Tuition surplus brings potential rewards for faculty and staff
By Kevinisha Walker
Enrollment for the fall 2013 semester exceeded the university’s expectations and resulted in a $1.5 million tuition surplus for the semester, according to university President Charles Middleton.
The surplus is a result of “tuition and revenues that are directly correlated to the number of students who are here,” Middleton said. “And if you have more students, you should have more tuition.”
The total full-time student head count for the fall semester was 102.3 percent of the goal, according to Assistant Vice President of Public Relations, Tom Karow.
According to Middleton, there was no one, initial goal for enrollment. There were actually multiple goals,due to the way enrollment works.
To come up with goals for the semester, students are divided into categories “including first-time freshmen straight out of high school—although some of them may have taken some time off and aren’t traditional-aged freshmen—transfer students, graduate students and international students,” Middleton said.
Once students are placed in those categories, they are then divided up by academic program and discipline.
“For example, with freshmen we look at how many of them are honors students or athletes, then we look at which academic programs they are in,” Middleton explained.
And in every one of the categories students are placed in, the total was higher, the president said.
There were also more hours taken by part-time students than the university anticipated. In fact, Karow said that the total part-time credit hours were 102.8 percent of the goal.
“The overarching thing is that when our students are at or above the numbers we were trying to get, that’s always a very good thing for any college or university,” Middleton said.
He also said that the tuition surplus drives revenue and allows the university to provide higher-quality education and provide better services for students.
“Having more students than we actually anticipated is a good sign that we are being effective and communicating to all the students how good a place [Roosevelt] is,” Middleton said.
President Middleton argues that the tuition surplus is a good thing in regards to providing better exposure for the university.
But he also argues that the surplus will allow the university to support its “most precious asset—faculty and staff.”
As the university has constrained costs, faculty and staff have not had a raise in four years.
Typically, Middleton said that faculty and staff should receive raises annually. And he thinks the first thing to do is to reward them for their participation in making the university an exciting place for students.
“They’ve been working very hard and diligently despite their disappointment, and certainly my disappointment, in their not getting raises annually,” Middleton said.
Assuming that the university continues to do well financially, Middleton hopes to give some reward to faculty and staff toward the middle of next year “because it’s time.”
The university also had a reduction in the amount of money contributed to the retirement program, Middleton said.
“We’re still contributing to the retirement program, just not as much as we did in the past,” Middleton said. “We want to get back into a situation where we can put more money into the retirement program, but that’s going to take an action of the Board of Trustees. I can’t do that.”
While Middleton is on the board, there are other members who dictate where and how money is distributed, too.
According to Middleton, a Rooseveltian value is to have faculty and staff retire comfortably.
“I want people to say they want to work for Roosevelt for many reasons, not least of which is when they stay here for 30 years, they can retire with dignity and financial security,” the president said.
And while this tuition surplus only represents the fall 2013 semester, Middleton is confident that the university will continue with its streak of good results.
“We have to at least get through two terms to be sure, but I’m confident that we’ll have good results in the spring and in the summer,” Middleton said.