WU should plan for shortfalls like annual events

Gorlok Fundraiser
Illustration by Victoria Courtney

Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice, shame on me. But what happens when you’re fooled a third time? That’s the question Webster University should be asking itself after announcing its third straight financial shortfall.

Webster has repeated the same mistakes and still fails to learn from them. Year after year, graduate school enrollment decreases. And yes, they should be making every possible effort to improve enrollment, but when it comes to the budget, they need to be realists. They shouldn’t account for mild growth like they have in the past. They shouldn’t even account for a stagnant year.

When the university sees shortfall making an annual appearance on their calendars, they need to plan for another — not hope the next year will somehow be different.

But this year’s shortfall seems to have opened the university’s eyes. Now they seem to be looking at the root of the problem instead of making “temporary” cuts (which are now seeming more and more permanent).

The university did the right thing by owning up to the past administration’s mistakes. After haphazardly creating a counseling program, they’re now working to fix it.

And they’re finally realizing extended campuses with less than 20 students enrolled are not financially sustainable. By closing these desolate campuses and bolstering the graduate program, Webster can work toward financial sustainability once again.

The only fear is how much damage will be done to the undergraduate programs by the time that can happen.

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