BY KAYDEE JONES
Gull Life Editor
When the president of the university addresses the public, people tend to listen.
Students, faculty and media piled into the Perdue auditorium on Wednesday afternoon to attend a town hall meeting hosted by Salisbury University President Janet Dudley-Eshbach. Throughout her talk, President Dudley-Eshbach focused on the themes of building the university’s excellence and building the community on and off campus.
Here’s a few things she brought up that students should know about.
Modest enrollment growth
Currently Salisbury University has an enrollment total of about 8,700 students. President Dudley-Eshbach proposed the idea of increasing the enrollment total of the university.
She emphasized that the increase would not be major (hence “modest”), because she does not want students to feel like just a number.
But a slight increase in enrollment total could give staff a boost in pay.
It could also open the doors of the university to more students. SU has about a 50 percent acceptance rate according to the president, and last fall the school accepted just 1,189 students from 8,389 applications.
President Dudley-Eshbach voiced some concern that the university may be turning away students who deserve to, and should, go to school here.
Increases in financial aid and tuition
SU has an average 11.7 percent discounted tuition, which is the lowest of all Maryland public universities. This is the No. 1 reason why students don’t come to SU, according to the president, because other schools are simply offering them way more financial aid.
To combat this, President Dudley- Eshbach suggested an arrangement in which all financial aid in the university system was compiled into one place, and money could be given to students individually. It would follow them from school to school and that way, financial aid wouldn’t be depended on how much a specific institution could afford to give.
But unfortunately, she said a system like this would be very difficult to make a reality because it’s highly political.
But on the brighter side, Gov. Larry Hogan is expected to approve a 2017 fiscal budget in which tuition increases are limited to two percent.
General education requirements
General education requirements haven’t changed in 40 years, Dudley-Eshbach said. The university is currently working on new gen-ed requirements in order to provide students with ways to talk and learn about more diverse issues.
SU’s brand new athletic facility, Sea Gull Stadium, is set to open in March. Dudley-Eshbach emphasized that the university has to find a way to get our students “jazzed” about athletics, and promptly announced that responsible tailgating will be permitted when the new stadium opens.
When talking about the new Guerrieri Academic Commons, the president mentioned that she has been met with concerns about if money for such projects comes out of student’s tuition.
It does not. In fact, it comes out of a completely separate budget.
There is an operating budget which pays salaries, benefits such as technology and expenses such as lighting and water, this is where student fees go. The other budget is a capital budget which covers things like building projects.
The budgets are completely separate and can’t overlap.
There are also plans for facility renewal. President Dudley-Eshbach specifically named dorm building St. Martin’s and Chesapeake apartments as two areas that need to be refurbished.