Budget report notes Slutzker Center funding concerns, expected tuition increases
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A University Senate budget report released Wednesday afternoon noted concerns about the Slutzker Center for International Services’ budget remaining “stagnant,” while international student enrollment has increased by more than 130 percent in the past 11 years.
The report was presented by the Committee on Budget and Fiscal Affairs on Wednesday during the Senate’s monthly meeting in Maxwell Auditorium.
“The Center’s stagnant budget is a major area of concern for the committee,” the report states. The report did not detail the Slutzker Center’s exact budget.
Enrollment jumped from 365 international undergraduate students studying at SU in 2006 to 1,942 in 2017, according to the report. The international graduate student population increased from 1,418 students to 2,275 students in that same time span.
But the university’s hub for international students has not received additional funds in several years, the report states.
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Crystal Bartolovich, an associate professor of English, on Wednesday asked what concrete actions are being taken to address Slutzker Center funding concerns.
Sinéad Mac Namara, chair of the budget committee, said in a recent meeting with M. Dolan Evanovich, the university’s senior vice president for enrollment and the student experience acknowledged the need for better support of international students.
During that meeting, Evanovich said funding from Invest Syracuse would go toward enriching support and services for international students, according to the report. Invest Syracuse is a five-year, $100 million academic fundraising plan.
“It’s early on … in what types of changes we’ll be making, but international students will be a priority in that process,” Mac Namara said.
She added that other Senate committees can also “take up the charge” to address funding issues.
Robert Van Gulick, a professor of philosophy, said during the meeting that the Senate’s Instruction Committee has previously expressed worries that the Slutzker Center is underfunded and understaffed, but nothing happened.
Mac Namara acknowledged that this isn’t the first time the budget committee has raised the issue of Slutzker Center funding, either.
When looking at the overall university income from international students, “it is a concern if growth is going to be sustained in that area,” she said of funding support for the center.
The committee has also discussed, according to the report, the need for an updated IT system and personnel at the Slutzker Center, as its current technology cannot accommodate the growing international student population, nor is it compatible with the federal Student and Exchange Visitor Information System.
The following points are critical concerns of the Slutzker Center that have budget implications, according to the report:
- The need to better serve students from wide geographical and socio-economic distributions
- The need for improved coordination of international services, recruitment efforts and tools, including social media
- Concerns over discontinuing international faculty orientation
- An inability to retain trained staff who have been repeatedly hired away by neighboring institutions for higher salaries
- Inadequate access to interpretation services for international students and their families where necessary
The university’s broad Academic Strategic Plan and the Invest Syracuse initiative prioritize student experience, internationalization and research at SU. The report argues the center needs a sufficient budget to operate and carry out priorities in those mastering planning documents.
“The Center’s current budget has simply not kept pace with the significant increases in international student numbers, particularly undergraduates,” the report states. “This need impacts not only the international student experience, but also faculty teaching and research efforts.”
Cost of attendance
The budget report released Wednesday also detailed the estimated cost of attendance for undergraduate and graduate students at the university, as SU prepares to implement a $3,300 tuition premium as part of Invest Syracuse.
For the 2018-19 academic year, the projected total cost of attendance for new undergraduate students is $70,637 — a 7.9 percent increase from the current academic year.
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This total cost for next year’s incoming students includes a 3.9 percent increase in base tuition and the Invest Syracuse premium. Room and board prices, the health and wellness fee and the student activity fee will remain the same, as they are now, for incoming undergraduates.
For returning undergraduate students, the 2018-19 cost of attendance will increase by 3.5 percent from this current academic year, bringing that cost to a total of $67,689.
Next year, tuition, room rates and board rates are all expected to rise by 3.9 percent, 2.5 percent and 2 percent, respectively. The health and wellness fee will increase by 2.2 percent, and the student activity fee will go up by 1 percent, pending approval from the Student Association, according to the report.
Typical indirect expenses for students, such as books and supplies, transportation and other personal expenses, are also anticipated to increase by 2.9 percent collectively, according to the report.
The Co-Curricular fee and the Residential Internet and Cable Access and Service fee are not expected to increase, per the report.
Published on February 22, 2018 at 1:20 am