SRU trustees advance tuition plan; rename career education office at quarterly business meeting


Slippery Rock University trustee Joshua Young addresses other members of the council during the Dec. 13 quarterly business meeting.

Slippery Rock University trustee Joshua Young addresses other members of the council during the Dec. 13 quarterly business meeting.

Dec. 13, 2019

SLIPPERY ROCK, Pa. — Slippery Rock University's council of trustees today voted to advance a new tuition rate and financial aid model for the 2020-21 and 2021-22 academic years to Pennsylvania's State System of Higher Education board of governors, and honored a long-time financial partner at their quarterly business meeting.

The proposed tuition pricing and financial aid plan calls for tuition increases of 3.5% in 2020-21 and 3.5% in 2021-22, which are closely aligned to annual increases at or near 3% since 2013. The lone exception was FY19-20 when the BOG froze tuition. If approved, the University would set aside 0.5% to fund additional financial aid opportunities, allowing SRU to expand its ability to meet students' needs through scholarships. For more information on the proposal, click here.

The council also approved renaming the University's Office of Career Education and Development the First National Bank Office of Career Education and Development for a 10-year period commencing Jan. 1, 2020, in recognition of FNB's longstanding philanthropic support of the University. Included in that support has been a $1 million endowment that supports the FNB Academic Scholars Program which provides annual scholarships for 18 students; an endowed athletic scholarship that annually supports student-athletes with demonstrated financial need; and FNB's recent real estate gift to the Slippery Rock University Foundation, Inc. That property, adjacent to SRU's Harrisville Building which is home to the University's Physician Assistant and Occupational Therapy programs, will be renovated to allow SRU to further develop facilities for its health care programs. For more information on FNB's real estate gift, click here.

In other action, the council directed the president and staff to work with the SRU Foundation to complete a restructuring study that would centralize the fundraising and Alumni Engagement functions within the University; permit the Foundation to continue to manage University assets; and streamline the distribution of funds from the Foundation to the University. The plan is to be submitted to the COT no later than Aug. 31, 2020.

Council also approved contracts, fixed assets and service and supply contracts. It tabled action on a proposed new Master of Science in Recreational Therapy program.

Through its standing committees, the trustees:
• Heard a presentation titled, "Success off the Field," by John Rindy, director of career education and development, and Andrea Grady, assistant athletic director and senior women's administrator, athletics
• Received academic programming updates from Jerry Chmielewski, interim provost and vice president for academic affairs, and Carrie Birckbichler, chief data officer.
• Received a presentation from David Jacobson of CliftonLarsonAllen regarding the University's financial statement and audit overview. Jacobson reported the council could be comfortable knowing that the University's financial reporting was accurate and that the audit was "clean" and had no findings.
• Heard from Molly Mercer, chief financial officer, regarding the University's 2019-20 budget.
• Received an update from Ed Bucha, executive director of Slippery Rock University Foundation, Inc., and Dennis Prescott, senior vice president of executive partners with Bentz Whaley Flessner, regarding a comprehensive fundraising campaign.
• Reviewed advancement and foundation operations; the facilities and planning project list; reviewed contracts, fixed assets and service and supply purchase orders; the quarterly financial report; and personnel appointments.
• Received an update on the Pennsylvania Association of Councils from Jeff Smith, chair, SRU trustees.
• Discussed a proposed trustee retreat.

The council's next meeting is March 26-27.

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