Members of the Council on University Planning and Budget focused on lobbying efforts, initiatives to increase enrollment and methods to increase revenue during a meeting Friday afternoon.
Eastern President David Glassman shared his experience lobbying in Springfield last week and talked about how the Illinois Senate has passed a bill that could secure full funding for Eastern.
“The nice thing about (that is) if we could get our FY15 money again at that level then we would have funds to bring back several crucial individual positions,” Glassman said.
Glassman said he believes the Senate is more focused on passing a comprehensive budget instead of another stopgap budget.
The Illinois House of Representatives has also passed another bill to the Senate that only guarantees partial funding.
“I don’t think (the Senate) will give it much attention at this time. They’re looking for something bigger to end this bypass and get this state moving forward,” Glassman said.
Glassman said if the House of Representatives approves the Senate bill and Gov. Bruce Rauner signs off on it, Eastern could potentially receive $10 million from the state.
“It was interesting to see senators walking around optimistic saying, ‘we are actually doing something, we are tweaking some things so we can get things done.’ I just have not seen that in the past and quite frankly it was bizarre to see,” Glassman said.
Paul McCann, interim vice president of business affairs, said after examining the November budget for FY17, he determined that it is balanced but having full funding from the state would help tremendously.
“When its all said and done our revenue will be in the total of $83 million, our expenses will be somewhere in the range of $83 million and we will have a balanced budget which is something for the last couple of years we have not achieved,” McCann said.
The budget that is being analyzed only shows the money that is funded by the state and from tuition and fees.
Josh Norman, associate vice president for enrollment management, has teamed up with Provost Blair Lord to implement five strategies to increase enrollment and increase the university’s revenue.
These strategies include getting information from the ACT on prospective students, writing personalized letters, organizing college calling campaigns and encouraging both alumni and employees to tell family members to apply at Eastern.
“For students who have not yet applied, we are creating these college-specific events to engage them into the enrollment funnel,” Norman said.
Norman said he will use the preferences that students provide on their ACT, such as if they want a public university, are interested in one of the majors the university offers or if they want a medium-sized campus.
If they want this, Eastern will send the student mail that says, ‘We choose you.’
The admissions office has access to alumni records that can help identify potential students.
“There are 1,400 alumni that have college-bound family members that meet the college criteria we want,” Norman said. “What we are doing with these students is offering a 50% off coupon at the bookstore if they apply and come to campus.”
Norman said this investment will help increase the amount of qualified students who apply.
“We know these students have a higher retention rate. We know that is a good investment because these are good quality students who stay here and succeed,” he said.
Glassman said the university is going to start implementing the recommendations made by the enrollment management, marketing, facilities and intercollegiate athletics made by Workgroups during the vitalization project.
Glassman is in the process of hiring an external marketing agency that will work to promote Eastern’s academics, services and campus experience.
“We are bringing marketing here in order to do something the university has never done, we are repairing buildings that have been unfortunately neglected and we are putting our money there because we know that is important,”Glassman said.
Kalyn Hayslett can be reached at 581-2812 or [email protected]