Marshall’s enrollment continues to drag down budget’s bottom line

HUNTINGTON, W.Va. — Marshall University remains $8 million below projections in student tuition and fee revenue for this fiscal year.

Matt Tidd

MU’s new Chief Financial Officer Matt Tidd told members of the Marshall Board of Governors Wednesday the projected revenue from student enrollment for this year is $79.2 million, the actual amount to come in is $70.8 million.

Tidd said Marshall needs more students.

“You can see there are downward trends there and they are solely related to our declining enrollment situation,” Tidd said. “An ongoing financial principle for the university is growing students and not fees, so in order for us to reverse this trend we’re going to have to grow our students.”

Tidd told the BOG there are no plans to increase student fees. He said if it happens the increase would be very minimal.

Current numbers for total overall revenue show Marshall down about $4 million. Tidd said missing the mark on tuition and fees has been offset by exceeding projections by $3 million in revenue that comes from residence hall occupancy. He said research grants and contracts earned by faculty members are also above projections for the fiscal year.

The student enrollment issue has been a top priority of Marshall President Brad Smith who returned to his alma mater last January. Smith has previously reported Marshall’s enrollment has decreased by 22% since it peaked in 2010.

Brad Smith

Marshall’s BOG approved two measures in August aimed at increasing enrollment including decreasing the time a new employee can become eligible for the dependent undergraduate tuition program from one year to six months. The board also extended Marshall’s Metro tuition from 15 counties in nearby Ohio and Kentucky to 59 counties in those states within a 100-mile radius of Huntington.

Another attempt begins with 100 students in the spring semester. Smith unveiled the program during his September investiture ceremony. It’s goal is to have all students at Marshall graduate without student debt in the next decade. Smith said Marshall will have to raise $300 million to fund the program.

The program includes what Smith has described as ‘skin in the game.’ It will have four pieces including students filling out a FAFSA every year, asking for family contributions to match what is expected from FAFSA and a work-study program with public and private business.

Classes will be more flexible for students in the program to allow for work, according to Smith.

It’s likely going to take several years for Marshall to turn around the enrollment numbers. Tidd told the BOG it’s fairly simple.

“We do need more students here. That will grow our revenue,” he said. “I look at tuition and fees as a price and volume. We knew what the price was–we set the price at the beginning of the year, our volume didn’t meet the expectations.”

A slide of the most recent Marshall University finance report.




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