Sound Off: What is the budget for KU’s new office for student retention? How many staff members does it have? Has other administrative overhead been cut to compensate for the cost, or does it represent further expansion of administration at the expense of academic programs?
KU’s new Office of First-Year Experience has a budget of $1,506,650 for the 2013 fiscal year, KU spokesman Jack Martin said. That money comes from general-use funds, fees for new students and savings from the university’s Changing for Excellence efficiency program. In the office, there are six full-time staff positions, two of which are newly created at KU, plus some part-time student assistants, he said. The office is “essentially an evolution” of the old New Student Orientation office, Martin said. Part of its budget goes back to academic departments with which it collaborates on seminars for first-year students. And, he said, the office is designed to help academic programs by keeping students at KU longer. “Creating a central place to coordinate activities like this is one part of our universitywide approach to getting students off to a good start so that we can increase the number who stay on track and graduate,” Martin said. “If a student doesn’t progress to graduation and leaves KU, that hurts both the student and the academic programs the caller is concerned about.”