DePaul University Newsline > Sections > Campus and Community > Fall census update

Fall census update

Fall campus
(DePaul University/Jamie Moncrief)

By assisting the president in setting the priorities for the direction of the university, Joint Council ensures we attach our actions to the core values of our mission. We hold ourselves responsible for rigorous and transparent communication with the larger community, which is why we’re writing you – with one voice – to relay important information about both our current financial situation, and our approach to the future.

At Wednesday’s Joint Council meeting, we discussed the fall census and the reality that current enrollment is not what we had hoped it would be. While the fall census shows an increase in DePaul’s freshman enrollment and international students, overall enrollment has continued to decline. We’re seeing the most significant declines in graduate, adult and continuing education/certificate type, and transfer student enrollments. These declines simply mean we must think through how we spend our budgets in the current year. There are still many variables that will determine the annual health of our university, but the current projections predict these enrollment declines will create a budget gap in our current year that will need to be addressed, but is manageable.

This fall census is a moment to renew our commitment to shared governance and determine a path forward together. We are currently working as a collective group to determine how to offer priorities to guide our decision-making and best address the financial shortfall against the budget. We have agreed to promote our mission and our deep commitment to our people as the highest priorities.

We have identified several priorities we can use to address current financial realities. Actions we are reviewing include deferring non-urgent facilities maintenance, selling underutilized assets, examining strategies to increase retention and considering organizational connections that could improve efficiencies. We also will ask each area to think about ways to slow spending in their operating budgets to assist with the questions we are facing. We will focus on being as protective as possible of salary adjustments, securing positions around the university and maintaining the academic quality DePaul is known for delivering.

We also pledge to continue the conversations about investments in our programs to ensure we can continue to provide a quality educational experience for our students and to care for the work-life balance of the members of our community. We must be simultaneously concerned about the questions of this moment and prepared to design a path forward that prevents us from having to engage in conversations of this nature again.

In essence, we are asking you, along with our Board of Trustees and our various leadership groups, to have this difficult conversation with us again – but this time, we will ensure the short-term changes are paired with a comprehensive plan to establish mid- and long-term changes that will allow for the flourishing of this institution for which we all care deeply. Every single day, you carry forward our Catholic, Vincentian mission to deliver an exceptional, life-altering education to a diverse community of learners. Your collective talents, passion and devotion to our mission will see us through this moment and ultimately drive us to be a national role model for higher education.

We will continue to communicate with you about our path forward and the solutions to the questions about our current fiscal year. Please reach out to any of us on the Joint Council with questions.