Elon Trustees set 2013-14 budget
Elon's Board of Trustees has approved the university's 2013-14 budget, making new investments in quality and setting costs for next academic year.
Letter to Elon students and parents from President Leo M. Lambert:
Dear Elon students and parents,
Elon's Board of Trustees has approved the university's 2013-14 budget, making new investments in quality and setting costs for next academic year. Of the highest priority in developing next year's budget was maintaining Elon's position as one of the nation's best values in private higher education. We are keenly aware of the financial challenges facing families, and we know that Elon continues to thrive because we are able to provide students with an excellent education at an affordable price.
Tuition at Elon next year will increase 3.9 percent to $29,750, the third year in a row that trustees have held the tuition increase under 4 percent. The typical cost for room, board and fees will increase $470, bringing the total cost for students living on campus to $40,046. Elon's total cost of attendance continues to be below the national private college average and more than $10,000 lower than the average for private colleges in the Northeast.
Elon's disciplined approach to holding down costs has earned recognition in Kiplinger magazine's annual listing of the 200 best values in private colleges. In Kiplinger's measurement of academic excellence and affordability among the nation's top-tier universities, Elon ranks #15 on the total cost list and #22 in best value.
Targeting resources to provide the highest impact
The impact of next year's budget investments will be felt by every student at Elon. First and foremost, we are funding 13 new full-time faculty positions to maintain our low student-faculty ratio and the close working relationships students have with faculty mentors. New staff positions will expand resources in residential life, engaged learning and student life programs, alumni relations, athletics and maintenance of campus facilities.
Additional funds for academics will support a special initiative under way to improve writing across the curriculum. Employers we work with in Elon's Student Professional Development Center tell us that strong writing skills are key differentiators for graduates in today's competitive job market. Our Writing Excellence Initiative will challenge students in every major to become talented and persuasive writers and use that to their advantage in their disciplines.
An increase in the health fee will help fund a major upgrade in student health services and wellness programs. Services will be increased, wait times will be decreased and Sunday hours will be added. The R.N. Ellington Health and Counseling Center is moving to a much larger facility on South Campus, providing more patient exam rooms and additional office space for counseling services. The new center will allow for the integration of student health and counseling services, health education programming, athletic care and faculty/staff wellness programs.
Increased financial aid is a key component of next year's budget, especially as it relates to the Elon Commitment strategic plan theme of supporting a more inclusive community of learners. The contributions and participation of students from a wide variety of backgrounds has a profound impact on the quality of the campus experience for everyone.
Elon's premier residential campus
Spring semester kicked off Feb. 4 with a great deal of excitement as we opened the new Lakeside Dining Hall, an international-themed expansion of Moseley Center that immediately earned rave reviews. The menus rotate weekly with foods from other nations along with locally grown options and Freshii, a new healthy food franchise in the building's Winter Garden food court.
Next door to Lakeside, construction is on schedule to open the first two residence halls this fall in the Global Residential Neighborhood. I hope you'll have a chance to look at the construction site on the shores of Lake Mary Nell on your next visit to campus. When the neighborhood is complete in 2014, it will provide an unparalleled residential experience for 600 students in five buildings that surround a beautiful commons building that will include the Isabella Cannon Global Education Center and a spacious Grand Hall that will serve as a study space that can be converted into a venue for major campus events.
We are also in the planning and fundraising stages for a new Admissions Welcome Center next to Moseley Center and for a major expansion of the School of Communications, with a Communications Commons atrium and theater and a new building that will create a communications campus that frames the historic area known as "Under the Oaks."
The Numen Lumen Pavilion – home of Elon's new multi-faith center
I hope you can join us April 30 for Spring Convocation. This year we will celebrate the opening of the Numen Lumen Pavilion in the Academic Village, a groundbreaking multi-faith center that will foster a deeper understanding and respect in our community for the world's religious and spiritual traditions. The convocation will feature six highly esteemed spiritual leaders and scholars.
The Numen Lumen Pavilion is a beautiful and inspiring building that includes a circular sacred space and group gathering and meeting spaces appropriate for many worship experiences, as well as the offices of Elon's Truitt Center for Religious and Spiritual Life. In this place, we will explore the values and beliefs that unite us and consider the ways that each of us can contribute to world peace and understanding.
The promise of "What's next?"
While we have just begun spring semester, the rhythm of life at a university constantly carries the beat of anticipating new opportunities. For members of the Class of 2013, excitement is building for the May 25th Commencement ceremonies, a launch pad for the next phase of life. Other students are making research plans for the summer, working with the Student Professional Development Center to prepare for internships or jobs, or perhaps looking forward to international study experiences or choosing their majors.
No matter how students are preparing for the future, the faculty and staff at Elon are playing an important role. We are dedicated to helping students develop to their full potential, and we are excited about the impact Elon alumni are having on our world.
Leo M. Lambert