5:21 PM EST, December 1, 2012
The Wilson College Board of Trustees on Saturday postponed a decision on whether to convert the school to a fully co-educational institution.
The trustees, who met Friday and Saturday, agreed to reconvene Jan. 13 to vote on a series of measures aimed at restoring the college’s fiscal health by significantly increasing enrollment and strengthening programs and facilities, according to a college news release.
“This is an important decision that will affect the future direction of Wilson College, and the Board of Trustees takes this responsibility very seriously,” said John Gibb, chairman of the Board of Trustees. “Our intention is to review and analyze all of the material to enable the board to give greater consideration to the information presented before charting a course for the financial well-being and academic health of the institution.”
The liberal arts school founded in 1869 has run operational budget deficits in three of the past four years, and has a $31 million debt, $10 million in deferred maintenance and a $12 million library project.
The school’s enrollment is 695 students. The co-ed proposal aims to double that figure by 2020.
The school now allows men to be students if they are children of staff members or at least 22 years old.
About 11 percent of Wilson’s students are undergraduate men.
The trustees are considering whether to permit men as regular students next year, and to let them live on campus the year after that. Tuition is nearly $29,000 per year.
The board met to vote on a proposal by Wilson President Barbara K. Mistick that includes reducing tuition and creating an innovative student loan buyback program; strengthening existing majors and adding a number of new academic programs, including several in the health sciences; making facilities and infrastructure improvements; and expanding co-education across all programs.
Mistick’s proposal was based on a set of recommendations from the Commission on Shaping the Future of Wilson College, a panel made up of faculty, alumnae, trustees, students and staff. The commission was charged with developing ideas for creating the “optimum scenario” for the future of the college.
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