Closing the gap: Vice President Halstead discusses financial management strategy at March 14 forum

Campus leadership hosted a budget forum on Thursday, March 14, to update members of the campus community on progress made, and work still to be done, to address the College’s current budget imbalance.

President Donald P. Christian and Vice President for Administration & Finance Michele Halstead detailed a new, multi-year financial management strategy developed in response to the College’s projected $5 million deficit for budget year 2018-19, the particulars of which were reported to students, faculty, staff and alumni at an October 2018 budget forum.

This multi-faceted plan aims to bring spending need into step with spending authorization by: 1) reducing both personnel and other than personnel spending (OTPS), and 2) increasing revenue through enrollment and tuition increases.

Many of these measures are already happening. The College set a target for reducing expenditures of $1,750,000 for fiscal year 2018-19, and has already achieved reductions of 97 percent of that target figure ($1,716,551).

Halstead reported that the College has also achieved its enrollment targets for the 2018-2019, and plans to increase undergraduate enrollment by 120 students and graduate enrollment by roughly 10 percent in each of the years 2019-20 and 2020-2021.

Vice President for Enrollment Management L. David Eaton identified a number of reasons to be optimistic about the future of enrollments at New Paltz, including the College’s strong and rising academic reputation; the competitive price of public college tuition, even with modest increases; the successful outcomes of recent New Paltz graduates; recent infrastructure investments to improve teaching, learning and life at the College; and continuing investment in full-time faculty.

Eaton outlined how the campus community will need to work together to yield more  undergraduate students, including accepted first-years and transfers, for the 2019-2020 academic year, to meet the target of 120 new students. . He noted that the campus does not need more applications, as New Paltz leads SUNY colleges in this realm. Instead, Admission will accept slightly more first-years and slightly more transfers, and everyone will need to help put our best foot forward to inspire more students to choose New Paltz as a good fit.

The financial management plan includes strong institutional support for the development of new and innovative academic curricula, designed to help SUNY New Paltz stay relevant and meet the needs of future generations of college students.

Provost Lorin Basden Arnold listed a number of examples of programs that launched recently or are forecasted to open in the next few years, including new graduate programs never before offered at New Paltz, more accelerated bachelor’s/master’s degree programs that allow students to earn two degrees in five years, and certificate programs and other micro-credentials meant to support professional advancement in diverse fields and at a range of career stages.

Campus community members interested in learning more about budgetary matters can access the full March 14 presentation and a number of other informative resources about how SUNY budgeting works by logging onto and using the “Budget Information Center” link.