Students going to a private university like Pacific Lutheran University are bound to spend large amounts of money to earn their respective degrees. So much in fact, that according to The Project on Student Debt, an initiative of the Institute for College Access & Succes, 56 percent of college students in Washington state will leave college with financial debt.
But, we never really expect the university we’re attending to be going through the same thing. Unfortunately, here at PLU, we’re experiencing a budget crisis. In every department, we will be noticing cut backs here and there.
It may be seen across campus as less funding for students to attend conferences in various departments, cutbacks on funding for Student Media and other clubs around campus and new charges when they decide they need to take their lunch on the go.
In a memo sent to PLU faculty and staff, President Thomas Krise blamed the budget cuts on a smaller first-year class. In the same memo, Krise reassured staff and faculty that the admissions department has implemented new marketing materials in order to attract more first-years to apply and attend PLU next fall.
PLU is preparing for the enrollment of first-years to get worse before it gets better, but PLU plans on being creative and proactive in its approaches over the next couple of years, hoping that their approaches will result in an improvement of numbers that also keep with our academic reputation.
While Krise tells staff and faculty that the operating budget for this year and next will be significantly impacted, steps are being implemented to work with fewer resources, such as growing revenue-generating programs.
In the next couple weeks, I will be sitting down with President Krise, who has graciously agreed to talk to me about the budget problem at PLU.
I intend to find out more specifics about the projects PLU is generating in order to improve the budget and increase enrollment for the coming years, as well as more specifics on what programs and departments are the hardest hit by budget cuts.
Stay tuned as I find out more information on what changes we may see around campus in the next couple years.
As a senior, my time at PLU may be quickly coming to an end, but before I leave I’d like to know what problems and obstacles the next general manager of Mast TV and Mast Media staff have to endure so I can try to prepare them for the next couple years, even if it means a bigger cut on our student media budget or further cutbacks on programming.