While the economic crisis continues to upset Wall Street, Miami University’s branch campuses in Middletown and Hamilton are looking to stay afloat in the wake of university cutbacks.
According to David Creamer, vice president of finance and business services, Miami has been lucky during the past two years, with state cuts only minimally affecting funding. However, Creamer said does not know how long that good luck will last.
“Once the cuts get deeper, it’s hard for the state to target other areas to cut and the prospect of additional cuts for us is a possibility,” Creamer said.
Jan Toennisson, director of public affairs at Miami’s Middletown campus said Middletown takes their financial cues from the main campus.
“We are being very cautious and following the lead of Oxford,” she said.
According to Toennisson, President David Hodge’s letter addressing the financial situation also applies to Hamilton and Middletown campuses.
In the letter, Hodge said the university is delaying most major construction projects and placing a freeze on hiring.
She said Middletown is currently looking at the budget and seeing where some “belt tightening” can be done, including what projects can be delayed.
Creamer said all three Miami campuses are well managed, but sometimes things are out of Miami’s control, particularly when state appropriations are reduced.
However, Creamer said that just like family budgets, each campus sets aside money from the good years for when the difficult times arise.
“Here at Miami Middletown, we take a lot of pride in being very frugal to begin with,” Toennisson said.
Toennisson said that out of more than 20 Ohio college campuses, Miami Middletown has the second lowest tuition, after Bowling Green State Firelands campus in Huron, Ohio.
As for a cut in programs or construction plans, Toennisson said that the branch campus has nothing new in the works at the moment, pointing out Middletown just completed its new student center two years ago.
Toennisson said Miami Middletown is also in a hiring freeze and assessing staff.
According to Creamer, Middletown and Hamilton are expanding their programs, like the new Bachelor of Integrative Studies program, to increase enrollment and therefore increase the number of people in Ohio with college degrees.
Toennisson added that enrollment has also increased 2.8 percent since the fall of 2007, but that it is not as high as administrators would like to see it.
Creamer said tuition is correlated with the university’s ability to provide the best experience possible to students.
“It’s not good when classes get smaller but costs stay the same, which is what we are trying to avoid by stimulating new programs,” Creamer said.