Image Contributor
At a Student Town Hall Meeting last night, President DeGioia spoke about how the global economic crisis is affecting the university.

University President John J. DeGioia said during a Student Town Hall Meeting last night in the Intercultural Center Auditorium that Georgetown will be delaying faculty and staff salary increases until January 2010.

DeGioia said that undergraduate tuition next year will increase 2.9 percent from about $53,600 to $55,000, which is the smallest tuition increase in a generation.

The university president also announced that the student financial aid budget has increased by 18 percent. He added that Georgetown will maintain its need-blind admissions process and continue to meet the full financial needs of domestic students – the university does not meet the full need for international students.

“We know that families are hurting and may have deeper levels of need,” DeGioia said.

In addition, although the McDonough School of Business building remains slated to open this May, the construction of the new science building has been postponed in order for the university to rethink its financial planning. Georgetown will, however, continue to expand wireless coverage by prioritizing areas, DeGioia said.

“We are trying to prioritize the spaces on campus as to where it should go next. The campus should be wireless, but we have had to prioritize each piece at a time.”

DeGioia explained that three particular issues – commitment to academic excellence, a response to the needs of the community, and the sustainability of continued growth – shaped the Board of Directors’ response to the current financial situation.

DeGioia said that Georgetown’s comparatively small endowment has forced it to take more aggressive action to curb the effects of the financial crisis.

“We don’t have the same economic advantages as our peers,” DeGioia said. “We are ranked in the top 25 universities in the country but our endowment ranks 73rd. We have to be more careful with our budget, but we begin with a focus on students, faculty and facilities.”

DeGioia said that Georgetown has a smaller endowment than its peers simply because the university did not start fundraising until 1969. Before 1969, Georgetown was linked to the Jesuit community completely, but in the past 30 years, the university has started looking for philanthropy to continue to grow.

DeGioia then opened the forum for questions. In response to Miranda Hall’s (COL ’11) question as to whether there would be budget cuts for developing programs – such as theater and the arts – DeGioia said that there were no budget cuts but just slower growth. He emphasized that cutting spending has not been an explicit strategy to date in dealing with the crisis.

“We hope that we have been able to supply stability and modest growth with continued expansion of our departments,” DeGioia said. “A good deal of our growth is incremental and predicated in getting philanthropic support.”

Ohm Gore (COL ’10) asked DeGioia if there were any plans on the table for cuts, to which DeGioia responded that cutting is not part of the plan as of now.

“No . cutting has not been an explicit strategy to date in dealing with the crisis, at this point in time it is not part of the plan,” he said.

When asked about the future of Georgetown in this economic climate, DeGioia was realistic.

“No one knows what the end looks like,” he said. “Everything assumes that things can get worse.”

“Never in our lifetime have we had challenges like we do today,” DeGioia said. “I’m very pleased that we have each other in these challenging times.”

* Correction: This article incorrectly reported that there will be no faculty and staff increases until January 2010.

Have a reaction to this article? Write a letter to the editor.

Comments are closed.