Report from Board of Trustees Meeting - February, 2011

February 26, 2011

St. Lawrence Colleagues and Students:

As is our custom for prompt communication, I write on behalf of the St. Lawrence University Board of Trustees to share the comprehensive fee for 2011-2012. The Board has also endorsed our plans for numerous additional investments that we believe will strengthen an already exceptional college experience for students. 

The Board voted to establish our base comprehensive fee for 2011-2012 at $53,740, an increase of $1,970. This is a 3.7% difference for University tuition, room, and board, which is level with last year’s adjustment; it is also equal to the lowest percentage increase that current families have known while at St. Lawrence.  Tuition will go up $1,515, room and board will rise $390.  Because we held down our previous rate of increases, we have worked extremely hard to contain costs, conserve energy, and develop innovations that uphold our mission, excellent reputation, and values. You have helped us immeasurably in this work and the trustees and I are grateful.

In addition, our student government association approved a resolution to increase the Student Activities fee by $65; their intention is to provide additional support for student clubs and campus events that the students themselves wish to expand. Every dime of this fee for student activities is actually controlled by our students, which in itself is a great learning opportunity. Also, the adjustment in the student activity fee now places us at par with the equivalent fees at our peer institutions.

At their winter meeting, trustees participated in campus-wide events and heard reports of several developments that are on track for next year.

We thanked donors to Momentum St. Lawrence, the fundraising campaign that began in 2003 and ended at its scheduled conclusion of December 31, 2010.  Over the seven years, alumni, parents and friends generously gave $172.1 million for specific purposes such as new and renovated buildings, new and expanded scholarships, and support for student-faculty research. Among exciting new programs supported by Momentum St. Lawrence, we are finalizing our New York City Semester.   Our distinctive approach to this program, with its details to be announced soon, will be another pioneering first for St. Lawrence. As we continue to raise necessary support funds, we aim to enroll students for the inaugural term in Spring 2012.  This off-campus opportunity is being designed to let students focus on either finance or arts management, two career areas that we are confident will offer great possibilities.

The February meeting is the occasion to approve next year’s budget for capital (renovations to buildings and grounds, as well as equipment). Our highest priority in our facilities improvement plans for 2011-2012 will be $1.1 million reserved for work in student residences, with projects expected to be done in time for the Fall 2011 semester.  

All our efforts and planning take place in the context of consistently high student satisfaction with St. Lawrence.  Just last week we reviewed our most recent “persistence” outcome, that is, the rate of students who return for the spring semester—the results are near-perfect, at 98%.  In all categories, we are experiencing either the highest rates ever, or rates equal to the previous high-water marks.   

I invite your comments and questions anytime, to

William L. Fox