I am writing to provide you with another budget update, this time focused on our undergraduate enrollment for next year. I am pleased to report that more than 3,200 students have sent in their deposits to be part of the Fall 2009 entering class. Not only does this figure exceed our initial estimates, but it comes at a time when many of our peer institutions are reporting flat or declining rates of deposit, proving once again that the University of New Hampshire is understood to be a great choice by prospective students and their families. I congratulate and thank everyone who has helped produce this outcome, from the staff in the Admissions Office to all those in the schools and colleges who participated in various open houses.
While there is much to celebrate in these deposit statistics, the effect on our FY 10 budget is still uncertain. We still need to know at least five key pieces of information:
• What will be the final mix of residents and non-residents who enroll?
• What will be the summer “melt” from the 3,200 students who made deposits?
• How many students who attended UNH this year will return in the fall?
• How many transfer students will we enroll?
• Most important, what will be the financial need of our students?
We will get greater clarity on some of these questions in the next few weeks. Other things we will not know until the fall. As I’ve mentioned before, we are being particularly cautious this year because uncertainty in the broader economy makes us skeptical that the usual predictive models will pertain. Moreover, even if everything breaks the right way and net tuition revenues exceed our forecasts, we still have a substantial structural budget challenge in front of us.
But let us take our good news as we find it; it is cold water to thirsty souls.
For those interested in learning more about the budget, mark your calendars: We will host an open forum to discuss the state of the University’s budget on May 18 from 12:30–2 p.m. in the MUB Theatre II.
Meanwhile, though, as commencement nears and as our thoughts inevitably turn to the more carefree days of summer, I want to thank you again for your hard work and sacrifice this year. The budget exercises we’ve been going through have not been easy. Nonetheless, this community has responded to the call with ingenuity, resolve, good humor and an overarching sense of the common good, making clear at every turn why the University of New Hampshire is such a special place.
Mark W. Huddleston
University of New Hampshire