Enrollment expected to decline, $6 million revenue loss

Nicole Ziege

Enrollment is expected to decline for WKU in fall 2018, which could result in about $6 million in revenue losses, according to documents provided by the Board of Regents finance committee.

Although exact enrollment projections have not yet been determined, the expected decline could result in a loss of $6,030,000 in tuition revenue. This is in addition to a tuition revenue shortfall of $4,138,000 that the university experienced this year.

“Enrollment declines have resulted in lost revenue and required the university to develop budget reduction plans. […] In summary, WKU needs to adjust its expenditure base by $21,144,000 next year to align with projected enrollment,” according to the documents.

Media Relations Director Bob Skipper said much of the anticipated decline could come from a decline in international enrollment, though he said that was unconfirmed.

Skipper said the university is looking at ways to maintain in-state, out-of-state and international enrollment.

“It’s really a push on all fronts, and we’re looking at ways of trying to turn the tide on the international enrollment,” Skipper said.

Skipper said “turning the tide” on international enrollment will be difficult.

“That’s probably going to be the hardest one to turn, just given the situation in the world today,” Skipper said.

Provost David Lee said WKU is not the only university in Kentucky expecting an enrollment decline.

“Probably most universities are experiencing some degree of enrollment decline,” Lee said.

Lee said the declining number of high school graduates is another factor in the expected enrollment decline.

“The number of high school graduates is declining, and declining a little more sharply in Kentucky than in some other places,” Lee said. “Our traditional pool is simply smaller than it once was.”

However, Lee said one way to increase enrollment could be to tap into non-traditional students, like adults.

“We haven’t been as successful as we need to be in tapping adult learners,” Lee said. “There’s more to be done there.”

Nicole Ziege can be reached at 270-745-6011 and [email protected] Follow Nicole Ziege on Twitter at @NicoleZiege.