Wright State Campus | Photo by Diana Jaber | The Wright State Guardian
Wright State University (WSU) Board of Trustees held a two-day session finalizing plans and business deals for the academic year 2021-2022.
WSU Financial Status
The Board committee day was held on Sept. 16, while the public session convened Sept. 17 at Lake Campus.
Committee day kicked off the meeting with the Academic and Student Affairs followed by the Finance, Audit, Governance and Compliance committee.
Discussing the financial status of the university, Doug Fecher, chair of the committee, began the meeting by expressing the university’s positive financial standing.
“We begin this fiscal year in better shape financially as a university than we have in several years,” Fecher said.
Despite this optimism, the monthly financial performance reports, presented at the meeting, show revenues for fiscal year (FY) 2021, are 11 million dollars lower than FY 2020. Revenue from tuition and fees, the main source of income, is also projected to decrease by 8.8 million dollars in FY 2022.
Additionally, WSU is planning on using 10.9 million in reserves for FY 2022. Reserve funds are funds set aside for when the university does not bring in enough revenue for its expenses.
Tuition and fees saw one of the largest revenue decreases due to falling enrollment numbers.
According to President Sue Edwards’ report presented during the Board’s public session, the total census date headcount for Dayton, Lake and Medical students is 11,469. 10,264 students are enrolled on the Dayton campus and another 1,205 students are enrolled on the Lake campus.
Enrollment is significantly lower than in previous years, including 2020. The total census date headcount for 2020 academic year rests at 12,234 students according to the FY 2022 budget presentation presented at the June 18 Board of Trustees meeting.
Though the pandemic is often cited as a factor, Edwards did not express the exact cause of the decline in enrollment.
In an effort to boost enrollment and housing numbers on campus, WSU granted the outside company Crawford Hoying permission to build an amenity space on the Dayton Campus.
Hoying currently owns and manages WSU’s housing spaces as of Dec. 30, 2020.
Maps provided by the company show the new space is planned for the far side of campus near the College Park and Village apartments.
According to the resolution passed by the Board, the space includes a swimming pool, recreation center and a restaurant. The pool and recreation center are shared between the WSU community and members of nearby apartments owned by Crawford Hoying. The restaurant is a public entity run through a third party.
During the Finance Committee meeting, Greg Sample, Chief Operating Officer, mentioned Chartwells’, the on-campus food service, unease over an outside restaurant on campus. Sample reported negotiations with the service to allow a third-party food source on campus.
Solely funded by Hoying, the project is set for completion by 2023.
As COVID cases continue to rise on campus and in the Raider County region, pushes for increased testing and vaccination are ever-present.
WSU instilled a mask mandate, a brief optional testing program for residential students and added a new voluntary vaccination program.
In an effort to increase vaccination status on campus without having a vaccine mandate, the university began an incentive program. Students, staff and faculty can now upload their COVID vaccination cards to a website provided by the university. Those who share their vaccination status may enter into a prize contest.
In addition to the contest, President Edwards announced the beginning of a surveillance testing program. Each week faculty members, staff members and students are randomly selected to participate in COVID testing.
Edwards did not mention what the consequences are for selected persons who choose not to take the test.
In 2022, the goal is to have COVID vaccination added to the list of necessary vaccinations for residential students in addition to compulsory testing for unvaccinated students according to Edward’s presentation.
During the public session, the Board approved the list of new hires, promotions and separations for fall semester 2021.
The College of Education and Human Services (CEHS) and the Boonshoft School of Medicine saw some of the largest increases in promotions and new hires as well as separations.
Boonshoft saw a total of 11 new hires, nine promotions and eight separations. CEHS saw nine new hires, nine promotions and three separations.
President Edwards announced searches to replace interim provost Oliver Evans, who currently leads the College of Health Education and Human Services in addition to being interim provost.
Another search committee for CEHS is also underway. Lake Campus, currently led by interim Dean Dan E. Krane, began a search committee for permanent leadership.
No further information was given on the searches or when they are expected to be finalized.