Dog Days of Summer: “worse” case scenario upon Guilford

Whilst most students are licking their academic wounds and resting from the rigors of their Guilford education during the dog days of summer, the business side of the College carries on.

Guilford is feeling a $2.5 million pain derived from the state’s decision to cut student aid program for N.C. residents attending private colleges and universities in the state.

Last semester Kent Chabotar, president and professor of political science, told The Guilfordian that “Guilford is acting to ensure that we maintain our quality and affordability in the face of rising expenses, deep cuts in federal and state-funded financial aid and a potential shortfall in enrollment income next year due to economic conditions.”

Guilford has taken steps to minimize the impact the budgetary issues have on students by boosting institutional financial aid for North Carolina students by $950,000 to compensate in part for state-funded financial aid reduction over two years. Also, it launched a special campaign to raise $1 million over two years for student financial aid.

The Board of Trustees received a budget update during their meetings June 1-2. The campus community received an update June 8.

Chabotar points out that the current situation does not come as a surprise. “Faculty, staff and students on the College’s Budget Committee as well as administrators have been proactive in developing a 2012-13 budget that addresses best, middle and worse-case scenarios. We are prepared,” he said.

According to a June 8 public statement issued by the College, Guilford “continues to aim at providing an education to traditional-aged and adult students that is academically excellent, diverse in program offerings and affordable in tough economic times.”

The College developed a contingency plan to reduce operating expenses by $1 million for 2012-13. Some of the reductions will be effective July 1 and others will be implemented in stages as needed. Reductions will include operating cuts across the divisions and staff position cuts including unfilled positions, the June 8 statement said.

No academic program cuts are planned and all faculty adjustments are related to actual fall 2012 enrollment. No tenure or tenure track faculty positions will be impacted.

Guilford adopted the lowest increase in traditional student tuition and fees in 15 years—3 percent on average, which the Board of Trustees approved at their February meeting.

The student-faculty ratio will remain the same. The College plans to take on no additional long-term debt, maintain the current 5 percent endowment spending rate, continue implementing its transformative and outcomes-based strategic plan and vigorously pursue its Advancing Excellence capital campaign that has now reached more than 80 percent of a $60 million goal.