Friday, February 27, 2009

Bright spot in the news

Getting mentioned in a story titled "Cutbacks Threaten College Experience" doesn't appear to be a good thing - at first.

The Wall Street Journal story in Thursday's edition focused on how cost-cutting may be undermining the educational experienced promised in glossy brochures mailed out months ago.

The story says that half of private colleges and universities have frozen hiring according to a survey by the National Association of Independent Colleges and Universities. Nearly the same number have slowed current construction and renovation projects, while 22 percent have canceled planned construction and renovation. The story also notes that dozens more schools - both public and private - are laid off staff and faculty, cut classes and other programs, to deal with slashed operating budgets.

It's important for families to consider some of these cutbacks, even if it means extra phone calls or another trip to campus," the Journal says. "Folding chairs in the new library at California State University, Fresno, might not bother everyone, as long as books are still available. But kids looking forward to lush dorms at Vanderbilt University may be disappointed, since plans for new residential halls have been postponed indefinitely."

But at the end of the article, TCU gets a positive mention.

"Many schools are promising to boost financial aid in line with tuition, with institutions such as Texas Christian University, Stanford University and Ithaca College in New York increasing the funds they set aside for aid as they anticipate stronger demand."

TCU's budget for financial aid was increased 18 percent to $73 million, and is rising year 5 ½ percent to $77 million in the coming academic year. That represents close to 25 percent of the university budget, says Brian Gutierrez, vice chancellor for finance and administration.

"Our desire is to make sure we have sufficient financial aid for our students. From what we see, we think what we’ve provided is adequate given the market conditions," he says. "We saw an uptick in enrollment in Fall 2008 and again in Spring 2009 and that’s positive. It demonstrates the demand for a TCU education is strong and the balance of financial aid and tuition price are finding equilibrium."

For more about how TCU is weathering the financial storm and helping students afford tuition, check out the upcoming Spring issue of the magazine, hitting mailboxes in March.

For the complete Journal story, go to this link:

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