UH-CL anticipates higher enrollment

Zarana Sanghani

Senior Staff Writer

If a goal to increase enrollment by two percent at the University of Houston-Clear Lake over the next year is achieved, the added revenue will boost funding sources for fiscal 1998, said Vice President for Administration and Finance Michelle Dotter.

The $55.1 million budget UH-CL proposed Aug. 11 for approval used conservative enrollment figures to calculate the funds generated from tuition.

"They had been very conservative on their estimates before," said Associate Vice Chancellor for Public Affairs Wendy Adair. "Now that they have other data coming in, they revised the estimate."

UH-CL changed its enrollment predictions based on a projected six-year strategic plan, said Director of the Budget Office Jean Carr.

UH-CL employs a six-year strategic plan, which sets goals for future enrollment figures, Dotter said. The plan is revised every two years.

If this year's goal is reached, tuition funds would increase by approximately $300,000.

The first budget UH-CL presented to the Board of Regents did not include the anticipated two percent enrollment increase because UH-CL preferred to construct the budget more conservatively, Dotter said. But when UH-CL presented its original budget to the Board of Regents' Finance and Administration Committee, the committee asked that UH-CL include the two percent increase.

UH-CL presented a revised budget with the enrollment increase to the Board of Regents Aug. 21, and the board approved the budget.

"We are being very aggressive. We are visiting community college campuses; we offer classes at night and on weekends. We just try to do what students ask for in surveys," Dotter said.

The plan summary for fiscal year 1998 includes strategies for improving student advising and communication with former students, prospective students and at-risk students.

However, figures are unpredictable. "I can't say if enrollment will definitely increase," Dotter said. "It depends on the economy and the students, and we're working as hard as we can."

The increase associated with UH-CL's projection may not be realized if enrollment does not expand as desired.

Though the final tuition estimate was greater than the original budget's figure, the change does not affect the total funds. The difference was, instead, calculated into the Budgeted Fund Balances, Dotter said.

"The Budgeted Fund Balances account for the timing difference on when the money comes in and when it is spent," Dotter said. "We don't want to spend money we don't have yet."

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