President’s Cabinet highlights—Jan. 12, 2010

  • David Bousquet, vice president for Enrollment Management and Student Affairs, shared a summary of a survey for NAU on tuition pricing elasticity and brand value. Key findings of the survey, which targeted separate groups of prospective parents and prospective students in Arizona and California, included:
    • NAU is somewhat overshadowed by higher profile competitors, and the university lacks positive, meaningful differentiation in academic programming.
    • Respondents influenced by changes in NAU tuition are more likely to consider community colleges than four-year schools.
    • NAU’s location is both a strength and a weakness.
    • Economic value is rarely driving students to or away from NAU.
  • Pat Haeuser, vice president for Budget, Planning and Institutional Research, noted that the university is modeling various tuition scenarios for fall 2010. The Arizona Board of Regents is considering the possibility of establishing tuition rates for two years. President John Haeger said the university and Yavapai College plan to set tuition for NAU-Yavapai that will be a low-cost option. The president will schedule meetings with student groups to discuss fall 2010 tuition and fee proposals.
  • The president discussed the state budget and a special Arizona Board of Regents meeting last week to address the delay of the state’s December payments to the universities. While the state’s bond rating has been downgraded as a result of the budget crisis, the bond rating of the university has not yet been impacted. Bob Norton, assistant vice president for Financial Services, noted that extended payment deferrals by the state could result in lower bond ratings, which increases debt service. The net result could be an additional cost of about $4 million over the life of the bonds for the university’s SPEED projects.
  • The President’s Cabinet Report, presented by Laura Jones of the Office of Planning and Institutional Research, noted that the university’s indirect cost revenue for research is at an all-time high of $3.3 million. The report also indicated that undergraduate admissions for spring are up 40 percent for the Flagstaff campus, 13 percent for Community Campuses and 29 percent for NAU-Yuma over spring 2009. The report further cited decreases in water usage and natural gas consumption per student FTE and an increase in reclaimed water use.
  • Planning for the SPEED projects remains on track.