Dear Campus Community:

As you know, the U of M has experienced declining summer enrollment for three consecutive years (see graph below).  Analysis revealed that the declines are a function of several variables including, but not limited to, cost, loan capacity, and convenience.  Our summer initiatives have reversed the trend with our first increase in summer enrollment in four years.  As you can see, overall enrollment is up 7%, or a total of 255 students.  It’s important to note these are early numbers. Registration will continue for the first and second sessions over the next several weeks; therefore, the final gains are likely to be more significant.  Perhaps most important though, is the success of our 3 + 3 summer initiative targeting first-time freshman (FTF).  The extant literature clearly indicates that, if FTF enroll in classes during their first summer, their overall retention and graduation numbers improve in the double digit range.  As of this week, we have 267 FTF enrolled in summer classes compared to 205 last year, an increase of 62 students or 30%.  Finally, early orientation numbers for next fall are very promising. As of this week, we have 1,570 students registered for orientation, compared to 1,100 last year (an increase of 470 students or 43%).  Early returns on our summer initiatives and recruitment for next fall are promising.

2015 Summer Enrollment

Thank you for all of your hard work and commitment.  Go Tigers!

Regards,

M. David Rudd
President

Dear Campus Community:

One of the most important events in the lives of our students is attendance at their graduation ceremony.  We are pleased to announce that over 1,700 students participated in the commencement exercises on Sunday, May 10, 2015, where their degrees were conferred.  Additionally, it is estimated that over 30,000 family and friends attended the two ceremonies in the FedEx Forum – the largest participation in recent history.

Unfortunately not all of the family and friends of our students are able to be physically present for this very important experience in their student’s lives.  The University of Memphis recognizes the challenges that the family and friends of our graduates face, so we live stream the entire ceremony from the Forum to the internet so that it can be watched remotely.  During last Sunday’s events, there were 1,589 viewings of the two ceremonies from locations across the U.S. and from 84 different countries around the globe.  We are proud to be able to offer multiple ways for families and friends to join in the celebration of this very important day in the life of our students.

Please join me in congratulating all of our graduates.

Go Tigers!

M. David Rudd
President

 

Dear Campus Community:

 

You’ll find below a graph that illustrates how the University of Memphis (UofM) compares to Southeastern Conference (SEC) schools on index crimes. As you can see, based on the latest statistics available from the FBI, we compare remarkably well.  We moved up two places on this chart from 2012, from 4th to 2nd.  Our rate per 1,000 decreased from 10.4 to 8.0. For comparison, the rate for Vanderbilt University is almost identical to the overall (municipalities, etc.) national average of 30.99 index crimes per 1,000. As we will tell parents during orientation this year, our on-campus index crime rate is only 25% of the national average. Here is the link to the FBI university and college data tables: http://www.fbi.gov/about-us/cjis/ucr/crime-in-the-u.s/2013/crime-in-the-u.s.-2013/tables/table-9/table-9/view It’s a testament to the careful planning and hard work of many on campus, particularly our Police Services.  Please join me in congratulating them and saying THANK YOU for a job well done.

 

2015 Crime Index Compared to SEC schools
Go Tigers.

M. David Rudd
President

Dear Campus Community:

As mentioned in a previous communication, the University of Memphis (U of M) was successful with a new piece of border county legislation during the recent session.  The legislation provides for in-state tuition for students from border counties in Mississippi and Arkansas.  What is most critical about this legislation is that it exempts the U of M from the “penalty” assessed for out-of-state students, approximately $5,400 per student, that is currently deducted from our state formula funding allocation.  Given our unique geographic location, coupled with the demographic trends likely over the coming decade, growth at the U of M is heavily dependent on enrolling students from neighboring states.  Our 250-mile radius program, implemented last year, positioned us well.  The new legislation is essential for our growth in the coming years and is estimated to provide new revenues in the range of $4-$5 million annually.   At the heart of our argument is the premise that approximately 60% of these students will end up residing in the Memphis area, paying taxes and supporting our community in a broad range of ways.  As you can see from the attached saturation map, the majority of our student growth is within the 250 mile radius program range.

We’re having a successful recruitment effort this year and are optimistic about the coming academic year.  Our orientation and housing numbers are ahead of last year’s pace and provide a foundation for our optimism. We’re projecting continued growth in our freshman class.  I’ll keep you updated as we have more details in the coming months.  Yesterday’s graduation events were fabulous, with 9,000-10,000 attendees at each event.  Thank you to all involved in the planning and execution of commencement.  I hope your academic year has been a good one.  Thank you for all you do for our students and community.

AAR_CA_data_11MAY15

Warm Regards,

M. David Rudd
President

Dear Campus Community:

As many of you know, it has been a very busy legislative session this year.  Although we will provide more details and depth over the next few months, I wanted to share the following summary with you as soon as possible.  Overall, the session was a good one for higher education and a good one for the University of Memphis (U of M).  Following is a quick summary of issues relevant for our campus:

  1.  The Governor fully funded the formula.  The net gain for the U of M is $3.7M, certainly a good outcome.  The Governor has made a firm commitment to higher education.  Given our performance gains, we are well positioned for the coming years.
  2.  Funding for a 1.5% salary pool was included in the Governor’s budget. At this time we do not have specifics on how this salary pool will be utilized. More details will follow.  As a reminder, the State of Tennessee only funds 55% of the overall costs, we absorb the remainder.
  3.  The U of M was successful with the passing of legislation that exempts us from the penalty for allowing out-of-state tuition to students in border counties in Arkansas and Mississippi.  The estimated net gain for us is $4.3M beginning with the 2016-17 fiscal year.  This is an annual savings to the university, and a very important step for our growth trajectory.  The Tennessee Higher Education Commission (THEC) has established a committee, of which I am a member, to review of the formula. The result of this evaluation may well be the removal of the out-of-state penalty for all universities in the coming year(s).  Given our unique geographic location, removing the penalty from the formula would still be a significant net gain to the University of Memphis, estimated at approximately $3M+ per year.  We are well positioned for out-of-state growth, with or without changes to the THEC formula.  This is very good news for our campus.
  4.  We received a special allocation of $2.6M for the Memphis Research Consortium (MRC).  These funds are designated for shared faculty positions with Bioworks and Trimetis.  The MRC will be positioning for a significant funding request in next year’s budget cycle, estimated at $20M.
  5.  We have requested a tuition increase of 4%, approximately half of our average increase of 8% over the past 15 years. This increase would fund our portion of the State mandated salary pool, along with providing funds for critically needed, but unfunded, infrastructure.
  6.  We received funding for a $3M capital maintenance project for electrical and gas utility upgrades.

I hope you find this summary helpful.  In short, we had a very successful session.  We will provide updates in the coming months.  I hope the semester is wrapping up well and look forward to seeing you at Commencement.

Warm Regards,

M. David Rudd
President