Trustees approve 2011-12 budget
Elon University trustees met in special session Feb. 14 to set the 2011-12 fiscal year budget. As the university begins the second year of its strategic plan, the Elon Commitment, trustees carefully weighed the demands for additional resources with the financial realities that students and their families are facing.
Next year's tuition increase of 3.98 percent is the smallest percentage increase in more than 20 years. Tuition and fees will total $27,881 in 2011-12, with room and board for a typical student set at $9,090.
Regarding Elon's graduate programs, Elon University School of Law tuition for 2011-12 will be $34,550, an increase of $1,950 from this year's cost. Tuition for the MBA program in 2011-2012 will be $697 per credit hour, a 10 percent increase; M.Ed. tuition will increase $18 per hour to $444 per credit hour, a 4.2 percent increase: DPT tuition for 2011-2012 will be $30,897, an increase of 4 percent; and the interactive media master's program will increase 4 percent to $31,232.
Elon continues to provide an outstanding value in private higher education. This year's total cost of attendance is $1,500 below the national private university average, and $10,000 - $15,000 below many peer private universities. Affordability is a key reason many families choose Elon, and the university's strategic plan demonstrates a commitment to that position.
The university will make major investments in career services next year, creating the new Student Professional Development Center and adding and realigning staff to build stronger relationships with top employers. Students will work with staff to create four-year plans to complete internships and prepare for job searches or graduate school. Parents and alumni will be asked to become more involved in supporting a vibrant career network for students. The center will relocate to prime new office space on the first floor of Moseley Center this fall, providing convenient access for students and employers.
In support of the Elon Commitment's goals of increasing diversity and global engagement, next year's budget includes a 6.75 percent increase in financial aid. This will provide an additional $1.14 million for need-based scholarships along with increased funding for an International Fellows program and for the multicultural center and the Watson and Odyssey progams.
Next year's budget provides 10 new faculty positions and increased resources for faculty and staff professional development. Including next year's expansion, Elon has added 125 full-time undergraduate faculty positions since 2000, lowering the student-faculty ratio to 13.4-to-1. This has made a major impact on the close mentoring and advising work faculty do with students, a hallmark of Elon's approach to education.
A separate budget approved by trustees includes funds raised from foundations and corporations to develop Elon's new master's program in physician assistant (PA) studies which will enroll its first class in January 2013 in the Gerald L. Francis Center on Haggard Avenue. This 140,000-square-foot facility is undergoing a complete transformation as the new home for the PA program and the doctor of physical therapy (DPT) program. The DPT move to the Francis Center will provide expanded space for that program as well as free up more room in the McMichael Science Center for undergraduate science programs.
Other construction projects currently under way include three new Colonnades residence halls and five new Greek Life houses near Koury Business Center. Also under construction is Elon Town Center, which will be the new home of Elon's bookstore and other retail services and restaurants on Williamson Avenue. Meantime, architectural planning is taking place for a multi-faith center for Elon's religious and spiritual life programs in the Academic Village, a Global Residential Neighborhood that will replace outdated halls on the shores of Lake Mary Nell, a new housing village for juniors and seniors on the fire station fields, and a new dining hall addition to Moseley Center, nearly doubling the size of that building and adding spacious dining and meeting spaces.