How expansion created financial pains for a Houston campus
- Four years ago, the University of Houston–Clear Lake enrolled its first cohort of 200 first-year students, after being among a handful of institutions nationwide that only taught juniors, seniors and graduate students. The Houston Chronicle recently profiled pockets of strain at the institution, which has increased first-year student enrollment by 12%. Some say the expansion has changed the culture and profitability of the campus.
- A drop in enrollment of international and graduate students in 2017 created a $13.9 million deficit in general revenue and tuition shortfall at Houston–Clear Lake. University officials say they are committed to being a four-year institution but without additional support from the state, that's not sustainable.
- Faculty members have also faced some difficulty in learning to instruct younger students, and learners have struggled to adapt to or to create new campus traditions without traditional undergraduate components like dorms and clubs.
This is a case of the correct administrative approach to building a campus profile, but which may have been launched at the wrong time in the higher education landscape. Grand Canyon University was successful in its bid to reclassify as a nonprofit institution, seeking to escape the stigma associated with for-profit colleges while building the undergraduate experience through athletics and fundraising. And the University of Maryland, Baltimore County, while historically known as a research institution, helped grow its brand exponentially with the investment in and ultimate success of its men's basketball program.
One formula for growth is to align with regional and industry trends. Governors have been increasingly open with their educational priorities, with six sharing their views on workforce development, increasing college affordability, expanding career and technical education, improving K-12 teacher quality in a report published by the Education Commission of the States. Focusing on legislative priorities is perhaps the strongest approach to gaining public support for campus expansion, even in lean financial times.
- Houston Chronicle Four years ago, UH-Clear Lake first enrolled freshmen. Today, some wonder what’s ahead.
- Education Dive Grand Canyon's non-profit conversion approved
- Education Dive UMBC basketball success example of how to take advantage of an athletic flashpoint
- Education Dive Top 6 education priorities of US governors