Wright State trustees approve a break-even, no-deficit 2019-20 budget

Wright State University plans to post a break-even, no-deficit budget, according to the proposed 2019-20 budget approved Aug. 15 by the university’s Board of Trustees.

The university expects to have revenues and expenditures of $245 million. That compares to $262 million in revenue last year, which is projected to generate more than an $8 million surplus.

Wright State received an additional $759,000 in state funding when the state budget was approved by Gov. Mike DeWine on July 18.

The university will be able to offset lower revenues by managing vacancies and continuing to look for efficiencies. There are no plans at this time for layoffs.

Wright State has budgeted for a fall enrollment decline of 16 percent.

“This is a conservative estimate. We believe that in the end, enrollment won’t be down as much as budgeted,” said Walt Branson, vice president for finance and operations and chief business officer. “And we are not experiencing this alone. Many campuses in Ohio and across the nation are facing enrollment declines and as a result are having similar budget challenges.”

The budget earmarks expenditures for expanding online course offerings.

“We’ve had very good results so far with courses that we’ve intentionally brought online. We’re seeing increased enrollments in those offerings,” said Branson.

He said there also are major initiatives directed at attracting first-time freshmen and transfer students and an added emphasis on retention that will include early intervention and retention peer mentoring programs.

The university plans to increase high school and college recruiting visits as well as participation in college fairs to attract freshmen. Seeking to connect with prospective students, there will also be an increased use of technology such as texting.

In addition, the proposed budget calls for a renewed focus on attracting nontraditional adult learners. That will include developing a Center for Adult Services and flexible hours for campus offices.

Branson said the university will continue to realign faculty positions, shifting vacant positions from departments with declining enrollments and filling them strategically in departments with growing ones.

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