DMACC sees budget cutbacks due to low enrollment

DMACC will see a shortfall of $2.3 million due to low enrollment, according to an email President Rob Denson sent to DMACC faculty and staff on Sept. 15. 

“This Fall, DMACC is facing the worst enrollment decline in my 17 years as President, and likely in the College’s history, down 6.9% in regular credit hours from last year,” Denson said. “We’d anticipated and budgeted for a slight reduction, but came in 5% below our revenue target.”

The statement cites COVID-19 as playing a huge role in this drop in enrollment. The enrollment decline could cause DMACC to lose around $2.3 million in revenue this school year. DMACC’s total operating budget in 2019 was $108 million.

In the email, Denson outlined the budget cuts at DMACC: 

  • Money for food purchases will be cut down by $200,000. 
  • Memberships and scholarships are being reduced down by at least $115,000. 
  • Traveling and conferences is being cut down by $300,00. 
  • Part time job opportunities and operating have all been reduced by about $900,000 dollars total. 

DMACC is not the only school suffering during this time. The University of Northern Iowa has 9,522 students enrolled this year, which is an enrollment decline of 715 students, and 6.8% drop. Iowa State University is down 1,566 students, which is about a 4.7% decrease. The University of Iowa is down 800 students, which is about a 2.6% decrease. 

Iowa State is the only school listed here that faced a similar enrollment drop the year before, which was 4.7%.

Denson also stated: “All positions will be frozen unless specially funded (grants, Perkins, WTED, etc.), or meet a specific student demand and/or are otherwise approved by the Executive Committee, to save in excess of  $800,000. This includes freezing the search for the position of Director of Diversity, Equity.

Denson stated, “I assure you in the strongest possible terms that this action on this new position is not a reduction in our equity commitment.We will continue to pursue this important work until our financial and enrollment picture indicates that we can proceed with this position.” 

DMACC looks to lean on a consultant for DMACC, Claudia Shabel, who has helped with this department and is planning new strategies to strengthen diversity and equity across DMACC.

The Chronicle reached out to President Denson to learn if the figures have changed since Sept. 15 and will update the story if new information is provided.

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