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The Saint Anselm Crier

The student news site of Saint Anselm College

The Saint Anselm Crier

The student news site of Saint Anselm College

The Saint Anselm Crier

CFO Furlong emphasizes college ‘not in a financial crisis’

High ranking members of the administrative team of the college claim that the budget cut is not a panic move and that Saint Anselm College remains in “good financial standing.”

In an ever-competitive higher education industry, Saint Anselm College finds itself in the middle of a heated battle for student enrollment. In the last calendar year, Saint Rose College in Albany, NY and Magdalen College here in New Hampshire have both officially announced their closures at the end of the school year. “We are in a better financial position than Saint Rose, but their ultimate demise was caused in part by the extremely competitive market of higher education,” said Bill Furlong, the Chief Financial Officer of the college. 

Of the $5 million looking to be cut, roughly $2 million is going to be taken from academic instruction, according to Dr. Sheila Liotta, the Vice President of Academic Affairs. While no official plans have been set in place, some restructuring of the core curriculum and first-year experiences, such as Conversatio, could be part of these cuts. Dr. Liotta affirms that, as of now, layoffs beyond the early buyout offers for faculty members are not in the picture. “We will likely strategically replace a number of them (professors opting for the buyout), but the majority will not be. As of now, there are absolutely no plans for layoffs, however.” 

The decision for the college to begin addressing the budget has been anticipated and data-driven, according to Dr. Liotta. “We have been aware of the nature of the business and are taking all the steps necessary to remain stable,” she said. “Are we rich, no. But are we stable, yes.” Dr. Liotta says that all the decisions being made stem from data the college has been collecting for years about the changing demographics of students looking to attend small liberal arts colleges and the increasing cost of maintaining a high standard of education and campus life. 

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One factor that goes into these decisions is the anticipated “demographic cliff” that has been affecting college campuses. This idea is based on the idea that families were choosing to not have as many children during the financial crisis of 2008-2009, limiting the overall pool of students graduating from high school and looking to continue their academic careers in the coming years. “We are anticipating this demographic cliff idea,” Liotta said. “ In 2008-2009 a lot less kids were born due to the recession and we have been expecting that for a long time. All the schools around here are going to be competing for the same smaller pool of applicants.” Furlong goes along with this sentiment saying, “As we look towards the future, we know that the number of students expected to graduate high school, particularly in the Northeast, starts to decline in 2026 and this trend continues for nearly a decade.  Inaction is not an option.”

Members of the college administrative team have been adamant in saying that these cuts are not in response to any outside factor and are being made in a strategic manner. ‘We are moving with urgency,” Furlong said. “At the same time, we are taking thoughtful and deliberate steps throughout the process,” he continued. Some of the strategic planning that has gone into effect through the academic lens includes the creation of two new buildings. The college introduced the Gregory J. Gappone Humanities Institute last year and construction is underway for one of the college’s more popular academic programs, the Jean School of Nursing and Health Sciences. “Since I’ve been here we’ve always had strategic priorities,” Dr Liotta said. “The institute of nursing and health sciences is in no way correlated to the budget cuts we are going through now and anticipating in the coming years.” 

The administrative team of Saint Anselm College has been working closely together throughout the past few months and will continue to hold discussions about the cuts that will soon be coming. In spite of the urgent nature of this process, the college remains adamant in saying these cuts are no sign of financial distress or failure and are being done as a measure to ensure the longevity and prosperity of the college both financially and in the strong reputation of being a Benedictine, liberal arts college. 

The college is aware of the potential stress this puts on the faculty and other members of the college community. Faculty members have been invited to several meetings and forums to discuss opportunities where each department can find creative and creative ways to save money, according to Vice President Liotta. In a similar spirit, Furlong expressed his gratitude to others during this process. “We sincerely appreciate the efforts of the many members of our community working to achieve our goal. We believe this difficult work will strengthen Saint Anselm College for the future,” he said.

College President Joseph Favazza. (Courtesy/Saint Anselm College)
Bill Furlong, Chief Fiance Officer. (Courtesy/Saint Anselm College )

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    Dick BurkeFeb 20, 2024 at 12:28 pm

    Did I miss the paragraph as how to raise non tuition revenue , increase endowment and to decrease the tuition discount ?