Effectiveness and Affordability Review
Ithaca College partnered with Huron Consulting Group last August to find opportunities for additional revenue, promote efficiencies, improve services, and reduce expenses. The consultants worked closely with a steering committee and met with more than 80 employees across campus who provided information about their units. A campus-wide survey was also used to gather suggestions on how to accomplish those goals.
In May the Ithaca College Board of Trustees will review and vote on proposals on which of Huron's recommendations to pursue in the near term, which ones to abandon altogether, and which ones to research further. This information and a tentative timeline for implementation will be communicated to the campus by the end of the summer.
Some of the recommendations are more complex than others and the cost savings vary. One suggestion is to institute data-based retention efforts, so the college can identify students who are at risk of leaving the college and provide more support. Another suggestion is to improve the energy management function, so the college can better track energy use and motivate students and staff to conserve.
Another recommendation involves improving space utilization so that classrooms sit empty less often. Aligning program capacity with applicant demand is a vital component of this recommendation. If there is a large demand for a particular program—where the number of applicants substantially exceeds the number of seats available—Huron recommends we find ways to accommodate more students in this area.
Moving the operations of the Rochester physical therapy center to the Ithaca campus is another Huron recommendation. This recommendation will be reviewed by both the academic department and the curriculum review committee to ensure that there are no unintended consequences that could harm the quality of the education being delivered.
Not all of the recommendations will be implemented, but some changes must occur because the college wants to keep the tuition from increasing at too steep a rate. It is becoming increasingly difficult for the college to meet the demonstrated financial aid needs of its applicants, which in turn forces students to rely more on federal financial aid and private loans—or look elsewhere.
“Even if prospective students feel that IC offers the best possible educational experience, the one they would like to have in an ideal world, they will not come here if they cannot afford to do so,” Rochon says.
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