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Posted at 10:00 AM ET, 09/19/2012

UDC fiscal problems threaten community college’s future, report says

The University of the District of Columbia has a staff and facilities too large for a stagnant student body – a costly issue that threatens efforts to turn the university’s expanding community college into an independent entity, according to a new report of a city-appointed advisory board.

The advisory board, which was formed by law to study the community college’s future transition, found that it could not make recommendations about the college’s future without examining UDC, the report reads.

Mayor Vincent C. Gray (D) is scheduled to release the report at 10 a.m. Wednesday during his biweekly news conference.

According to the 28-page report, the community college “can only be as strong as its host institution, and … UDC’s current financial health is under serious strain.”

The report comes less than a month before the Oct. 1 deadline for the university to submit a right-sizing plan to the D.C. Council, under legislation that went into effect in June. UDC also has a Nov. 1 deadline to submit an application to an accrediting body so that the community college can become a branch campus of the university.

The report outlines the school’s “cost drivers,” pointing to high salaries and a plan for expansion to attract students that does not match the decline in the number of residents under 18.

“Nearly three-quarters of UDC’s faculty are full or associate professors as compared with a 40 percent average for peer institutions. Salaries for all faculty are 33 percent above the median salary at peer institutions,” the report says, using data from an analysis of the 2010-2011 school year. The analysis found that UDC’s expenditures could be slashed by more than $51 million if its costs per full-time student were on par with similar schools.

“The Advisory Board wants to see a strong, independent community college for D.C.  But to get there, we realized that UDC as a whole must be strengthened,” said Walter Smith, chairman of the advisory board, in a news release. “The Mayor, the Council, and the UDC Board of Trustees are going to need to work together to decide what this stronger UDC ought to look like, and they must begin to make tough decisions now.”

By  |  10:00 AM ET, 09/19/2012

 
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