By: Cody Hermann and Danielle Reid (Whetstone contributors)
Staff in the library, the academic resource center and the international program said they are struggling to maintain student services in the wake of budget cuts.
Students planning work study or work ship are having a hard time finding jobs.
“We had to cut back on some of our student help,” said Kevin Cullen, director of international affairs. “I valued them enormously and I held them to a high standard and they performed. I hope to eventually get them back.”
The international program is not the only one experiencing a reduction in student help.
“We have a refined formula for hiring,” said Charlene Stevens, director of the department of academic support. “Hours in the ARC have been cut back and tutors are only available Monday through Thursday.”
Cutbacks are affecting students from all majors, whether they work for the school or not. Reduced hours in the ARC make meeting required study hours difficult for athletes and others who seek help.
“Students want to start back up on their homework after a long weekend and sometimes we need a tutor on Sunday for a test in the upcoming week,” sophomore Fedelina Paul said. “The ARC is going to lose a lot of students by not being open on Sunday and students are losing a valuable resource.”
Students also may see a cut in library hours next semester.
“The tightness of the budget is only temporary and the hours will return to normal in the coming years,” said Dr. Patricia Dwyer, provost.
Some students and teachers were speculating in October that the library’s print periodicals were to be eliminated, as well as the Project Muse and Gale Expanded academic databases. Only days after students asked about the possible cuts, library director Jessica Olin sent an e-mail Nov. 7 addressing the rumors.
“As some of you may know,” Olin wrote to faculty and staff, “the library was looking at having to make some painful cuts (databases and periodicals) if the prior budget numbers had stood. Fortunately RHP Library has had a budget increase from 80% to 100%, and we will not have to cut databases or any of the periodicals.”
The current budget issues are a culmination of several problems, Dwyer said.
Low retention and admission rates plagued the school for several years and the college is still feeling the effects, despite a recent spike in retention.
With smaller junior and senior classes, the college collects less tuition.
Also, admissions increased the “discount rate” of tuition this year by more than 2 percent, which helped create a large budget deficit.
The higher the discount rate, the less money the student has to pay. For example, if Wesley costs $20,000 to attend for the year, a high discount rate will reduce tuition by several thousands of dollars. So, after a discount rate is applied, the student may only owe $12,000. The difference, $8,000, the school loses and cannot be made up.
“We are looking at the discount rate and looking for ways to make it attractive for students while not putting undue burden on the College.” Dwyer said.
The College also is pushing summer classes and the international program to bring in more money. The College will also market the school’s small size and new core curriculum in order to increase the amount of new recruits and transfer students, Dwyer said.
Kevin Cullen stressed that students interested or involved in the College’s international program should not worry.
“Students can still study abroad, we’re still working on recruiting international students, and acculturation activities will continue,” he said.
Dwyer said a new full-time staff member has been hired in order to aid the International Program.
Stevens also said that educational training seminars will not be affected despite the ARC cutting back on its services. However, these budget cuts have left the department stretched thin and students are taking notice.
“We serve over 1,000 students and have heard multiple complaints,” she said. “With less money we just cannot provide them a higher level of service.”