St. Cloud State University Stays Afloat with New Focus, Fewer Degrees

St. Cloud State University

Low enrollment numbers and rising costs have been plaguing higher education in recent months, and some schools have been floundering to stay above water. One such institution, St. Cloud State University in St. Cloud, Minnesota, may have found a way to balance the budget while keeping their most in-demand programming.

In a recent meeting of the school’s administration, recommendations were made to cut 50 minors and almost as many majors in order to save money. Of course, with the elimination of these academic offerings comes layoffs for a significant portion of the school’s faculty—13%.

University President Larry Lee said, “Students are speaking with their decisions — what programs are growing enrollment or not,” he said. “And we have some programs that just don’t have the enrollment that can support the amount of staffing that we have in that program.”

The school will maintain 90 academic programs of which 90 percent of the student body is enrolled. Students currently enrolled in the remaining programs will still be able to graduate, but these programs will no longer accept new students.

These recommendations are merely suggestions as of now. Faculty members have ten days to respond to the proposal prior to a final decision from school leaders. Still, President Lee is adamant about the restructuring, citing grim budget deficits. The school lost $18 million last year and would have lost $15 million this year, if not for emergency funding from the state.

“We just can’t sustain the operation like that. We have to align our expenses with our revenues, so we can continue to provide the type of experience that we’ve provided here for a long time,” said Lee.

St. Cloud State University recently made our ranking of the 50 Best Small College Towns in America. It has also been named one of the top 25 public schools in the nation by U.S. News & World Report.

Source: MPR News: St. Cloud State University leaders recommend major cuts in degree programs, faculty