Holding the line -- Wilberforce U freezes tuition - Dr. Flake is making a difference

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"Holding the line -- Wilberforce U freezes tuition"

That's the heading at the very top (above the masthead so it can't be missed) of today's Columbus Dispatch; it then references the full story on page C1 (Metro & State). You may be able to view the article at www.dispatch.com. Some parts of the site require registration and a fee for non-subscribers while other parts are free.

Today (Monday), a picture and link ar on the front page of the website; after today, you may have to put "Wilberforce" or other key word in the Search section - I don't know for sure.

(note: ... = omissions) =============================================== The article, by Alice Thomas is a bit long, but some extracts follow:

WILBERFORCE, Ohio ? In a year when double-digit tuition increases were common across the country, Wilberforce University did the unthinkable and froze tuition.

And that?s not the half of it.

Mired in deficit, the college decided it was a good time to start spending more money on students. Annual tuition for full-time undergraduates is about $16,000. ... "Students don?t care if you?re in financial exigency. They want a good education and value for what they?re paying for," said Marshall Mitchell, the university?s vice president of institutional advancement. ... They renegotiated contracts, laid off 38 employees and sliced extras ? including the track team ? from the budget. The problem wasn?t the team. It was that the school didn?t have a track.

Faculty members agreed to take a oneyear, 10 percent pay cut and increase their teaching load.

In addition, Wilberforce, located about 50 miles west of Columbus in Greene County, plans to eventually whittle the number of majors it offers in half with the aim of having a select number of stronger majors.

The school?s strategy is an aberrant one in academia, where colleges compete to offer all things to all students, driving up spending.

Wilberforce officials say it?s a matter of survival. ... To right the ship, the school?s board of trustees last year installed one of its members as president. Floyd Flake, a 1968 Wilberforce graduate, agreed to take over for a year ? even as he has kept his job at the 19,000-member Allen AME church in Jamaica, N.Y.

Flake and Mitchell, who divides his time between Wilberforce and Philadelphia, sleep on inflatable mattresses in the president?s house on campus.

The two are going into their second year, but insist they don?t plan to be at Wilberforce long term. ... "I had no idea about the magnitude of debt," Flake said. "You can?t borrow your way out of debt by borrowing." ... Today, the school realizes street-wise students need activities.

Among the new perks are keeping the gym and student union open at night to give students a place to hang out, bringing speakers to campus, offering activities such as social mixers and providing students free graduate-school prep courses and exams.

The extras cost about $300,000 more a year. They seem to be working.

"It just lacked school spirit before. Now the faculty and students are excited," said Diamond Morgan, a senior from Detroit. ... The cuts Wilberforce made dropped its deficit from $5 million to about $1 million. The college hopes the added services will lure more students ? and revenue ? eventually bringing the school?s finances back into the black.

Today, just more than 800 students are enrolled, with an additional 400 taking continuing-education classes. The fiveyear goal is 2,000 students.

The faculty pay cut has, oddly enough, turned out to be part of the new esprit de corps on campus.

Biology professor Hammed Agboola joked that he?s "poor, but happy."

"It?s a contribution I have to make . . . if that?s what is going to keep the school going," Agboola said.


-- Anonymous, September 01, 2003


larry -

I'm looking to learn more about Wilberforce at the Convo VII Higher Education Summitt in Birmingham, AL December 3-5, 2003. If Wilberforce is to be the AME flagship college we must match rhetoric with reality. QED

-- Anonymous, September 01, 2003

I apologize for the "?" throughout the text above. I don't know why they are there; I simple copied and pasted from the original article,so it must be something embedded somewhere.

-- Anonymous, September 01, 2003

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