BC-WY— (Web only)

University of Wyoming students gather in the atrium of the College of Business Building.

Strong enrollment at the University of Wyoming has been a point of pride for administrators the last two years, but the record freshman class this year hasn’t actually been that beneficial for UW’s tuition revenue.

“Even though we have a higher number of students enrolled in the University of Wyoming in this academic year, our net tuition revenue is lower than we had budgeted or anticipated,” David Jewell, associate vice president for budgeting and fiscal planning, told the board of trustees last week. “Our payer mix has shifted. We are awarding more aid and scholarships through the admissions process to non-resident students who are receiving those awards than our budget model in previous years would have anticipated.”

In the 2018 fiscal year, UW handed out $6.2 million in tuition waivers, with the Western Undergraduate Exchange accounting for $3.6 million and the Rocky Mountain Scholars accounting for $1.4 million of that.

During the same year, $23.5 million in institutional aid and $7 million in aid from the UW Foundation was handed out.

As UW is working on its budget for the 2020 fiscal year, Jewell is budgeting for no increase in net tuition revenue, even though UW’s tuition rate is set to rise by 4 percent.

Jewell noted that high-schoolers with a high enough grade-point average and test scores are automatically given certain UW-provided aid, regardless of whether that aid is sought by the student.

Trustee John McKinley said that UW is likely to be over-budget at the end of the 2019 fiscal year for the amount of university-based aid that’s being giving out.

During the past year, UW leaders have been discussing the possibility of lowering the school’s sticker price for out-of-state students while reducing the amount of deferred revenue.

Jewell said that, assuming UW’s funding from the Legislature doesn’t significantly increase anytime soon, there’s an imminent need to change the school’s “enrollment model.”

“As we add more products on the shelf, there are going to be costs that come with offering more of those, and if our enrollment model is bringing in more and more students who are not covering that cost to deliver, and at the same we’re not seeing corresponding increases to our largest revenue source, which is still, by far, state appropriations, we are potentially setting ourselves up for a position that would not be favorable — in which costs exceeds revenue,” Jewell said.

Trustee Kermit Brown said that any changes to how UW charges out-of-state students should still allow UW to “maintain our reputation that we have nationally of being a great bargain for an education.”

(4) comments


Always excuses from the administration. Completely overhaul the Foundation and start a fund-raising program. Or would you rather steal from staff and faculty again?

mandatory field

So out-of-state enrollment incentives are affecting UW's bottom line? Has the same skewed logic motivated the new dorm proposal?


Enrollment is up but revenue is down. That sounds like a sound and sustainable business model. How many more faculty and staff will be leaving the already sinking ship?


So this is how Ms. Nichols was so successful at growing enrollment. She gave away the store. An inquisitive journalist might have asked Mr. Jewell whether he or his department communicated to admissions just how much they were permitted to spend on aid. If this were a private enterprise Mr. Jewell and his boss (since he is just a lowly Assoc. VP) would have already been escorted out the door.

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