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On December 7, as part of a multi-year financial plan for the College’s long-term financial sustainability, the Saint Rose Board of Trustees approved a plan to reduce academic expenses by $5.97 million, including the closure of 16 unique bachelor’s degrees, six unique master’s degrees, and three certificate programs. Current students enrolled in these programs will be able to finish their degrees and will receive individualized degree completion plans. No new students will be enrolled in the programs scheduled for closure.

Below are answers to frequently asked questions.

Frequently Asked Questions

The Saint Rose Board of Trustees has approved a plan to reduce academic expenses by $5.97 million, which will result in the closure of 16 unique bachelor’s degrees, six unique master’s degrees, and three certificate programs.

Many of the programs have declining or historically low enrollment. Other degree or certificate programs were eliminated because the cost to maintain them was higher than the revenue generated by enrollment.

These decisions impact 10% of undergraduate students and 4% of graduate students enrolled at Saint Rose, who will still be able to finish their degrees. They will be provided with individualized plans for degree completion.

The College currently offers 109 undergraduate and graduate degree programs and advanced certificates and is home to 3,774 students.

The programs approved for closure by the board of trustees are:

Undergraduate Programs:

Art

    1. Design Media Arts (BS)
    2. Graphic Design (BFA)
    3. Studio Art (BFA)
    4. Studio Art (BS)

Music

    1. Music (BA)
    2. Music Performance (BM)
    3. Music Education K-12 (BS)

Mathematics

    1. Mathematics (BA)
    2. Mathematics: Adolescence Education (BS and BS/MSED in Special Education)

Science and Technology

    1. Biology-Cytotechnology (BS)
    2. Biology: Adolescence Education (BS and BS/MSED in Special Education)
    3. Chemistry (BS)
    4. Medical Technology (BS)
    5. Information Technology (BS and BS/MS)

Business

    1. Financial Planning (BS and BS/MBA)
    2. Business Economics (BS)

Concentrations
Business Administration: Financial Planning Concentration
Business Administration: Accounting and Audit Concentration

Master’s Degrees:

Education

  1. Higher Ed Leadership and Administration (MSED)
  2. College Student Services Administration (MSED)
  3. Literacy grade 5-12 (MSED)
  4. Literacy birth-12 grade (MSED)

Business and Technology

  1. Business Analytics (MS)
  2. Information Technology (MS)

Advanced Certificates

  1. Financial Planning Advanced Certificate
  2. Literacy birth-grade 12 Advanced Certificate
  3. Quality Control in Higher Education Advanced Certificate

This plan results in $5.97 million in academic expense reductions over the next two years.

Our annual revenue in recent years only has covered roughly 85% of our operating budget. Unlike some institutions, we do not have a significant endowment to rely upon. As mentioned when the College announced on July 30 that the Saint Rose Board of Trustees had called for $6 million in reductions, carrying a $10 to $12 million structural deficit does not enable the institution to sustain itself for the next century.

We are not alone in facing these types of financial decisions. Colleges and universities across the country – both public and private – are having to reduce personnel and programs. We have been proactive about it, and we have done it in accordance with the Faculty Manual and in partnership with members of the Representative Committee of the Faculty. We are grateful for their willingness to work through these difficult decisions for the long-term resilience of Saint Rose.

Reductions of $8 million have already been made to the administrative and staff budgets – both operational expenses and personnel. The $8 million in administrative and staff cuts and the $5.97 million in academic expense reductions are part of a multi-year financial plan to balance the budget by 2023. The College’s financial position made us particularly vulnerable to budgetary hits like COVID-19, which forced us to move to remote instruction in the Spring 2020 semester and refund students’ room and board fees.

The program reductions are not about the rigor of those programs, the quality of the faculty, or the experiences had by alumni who hold those Saint Rose degrees. We have had more programs than are supported by enrollment revenue.

They mean the College is proactively addressing a situation in which the College operated with a structural deficit and revenue only covered 85% of operating expenses. A multi-year financial plan, which includes $5.97 million in academic expense reductions and approximately $8 million in administrative budget cuts, balances the budget by 2023. The College is also embarking on a fundraising campaign tied to this centennial year, which will be important to our long-term financial health.

The College is a private nonprofit organization. This means the College is not funded with tax dollars and must rely on its own resources. These decisions were not made to grow profits – they were made to balance the College’s budget.

The College dedicates more than half of its annual budget to making a Saint Rose education affordable by providing financial aid to students – 99% of first-year and 98% of undergraduate students receive some form of financial aid with an average annual institutional award of more than $19,000 for first-year students and more than $16,000 for all undergraduates in Fall 2019.

Our operating expenses have consistently been exceeding our income (which primarily comes from the tuition and fees students pay), creating a structural deficit and inhibiting the College’s ability to deal with unexpected circumstances that create significant additional financial losses, like the COVID-19 pandemic. Carrying a structural deficit is not a sustainable way to operate.

Any organization, when faced with a structural deficit, needs to figure out where those losses are coming from and stop the losses. First, the College cut the administrative and staff budget with $8 million in reductions earlier this year, which included the elimination of positions for 20 administrators and staff, eliminating or freezing 50 vacant administrator and staff positions, pay cuts of 5% to 10% that extend through this fiscal year for administrators and non-unionized staff who make more than $50,000 a year, the freezing of the pension plan for hourly employees, ending consulting contracts, and $1.7 million in cuts to operating budgets.

The next step was to evaluate academic programs. That review was conducted using data delineating the expense of operating every program vs. income via enrollment (tuition revenue). The Representative Committee of the Faculty (Rep Com), which was elected by the full faculty and formed a working group with a team of administrators these last few months. The group collected, analyzed, and shared that data with the entire full-time faculty.

As the College is operating with a structural deficit, there is not a surplus of revenue to subsidize programs that are not covering their expenses. There also isn’t enough donor support to cover that gap. A large increase in tuition does not seem like a good situation for our students in this pressured economy.

The board of trustees wanted to be proactive and address this situation now.

Colleges and universities typically don’t externally share that level of detail about their programs. Higher education has become a very competitive sector. When the detailed data was shared with the tenured and tenure-track faculty, it was done confidentially as internal information.

In addition, there is an appeal process for all affected faculty under the Faculty Manual, and in order to follow the process and to be fair and equitable to all of the faculty impacted, we will keep the entirety of the data confidential.

The program data was shared by the Representative Committee of the Faculty (Rep Com) with the full tenured and tenure track faculty. Recommendations were made after months of meetings between a team of administrators and faculty representatives who were elected by the faculty (that group is known as Rep Com). Department chairs also met with that working group of administrators/Rep Com to share information about their programs. The report with recommendations was then shared with the full faculty after the announcement was made.

The directive from the Saint Rose Board of Trustees to cut $6 million from academic program expenses by the end of the Fall 2020 semester was just given this summer, and we announced it via email, in newsletters, to the media, and on the website on July 30. We also held follow-up Zoom sessions with the president for all members of our College community.

After the announcement, an administrative team worked with the Representative Committee of the Faculty (Rep Com) to analyze the data, speak with the department chairs, and work to make recommendations to create a sustainable future for Saint Rose. Data was made available to the full faculty, and administrators (including Interim President Marcia White) answered questions at full faculty meetings. The recommendations were then to be voted on by the trustees in December, and the trustees had the power to modify, reject, or accept the recommendations. The College was not going to announce the recommendations because they were not final. Only the board of trustees’ vote is final.

While these programs are noted for their quality and excellent outcomes, they are actually not a large part of the overall College enrollment. Our top five undergraduate programs in Fall 2019 were: Communications, Criminal Justice Behavior and Law, Music Industry, Forensic Psychology, and Psychology. The School of Mathematics and Sciences is our most highly enrolled school, accounting for 38% percent of our undergraduate enrollment.

Art and music have been a visible and appreciated part of our campus culture and curriculum, and so this decision was gut-wrenching. The financial reality is that these programs were contributing to our ongoing structural deficit. The cost of delivering these programs exceeds income by hundreds of thousands of dollars per year, and this consequently negatively impacts funds for other needs.

It is true that music has been part of the College since it opened its doors, and fortunately, we are able to retain the College’s largest music program, music industry, which has graduated some phenomenal artists and professionals and continues to attract students from around the world. We will always be proud of the decades upon decades of talented music teachers who graduated from Saint Rose.

Music industry has approximately 100 students enrolled, which is more than the total enrollment of the BA in Music, the BM in Performance, and the BS in Music Education (K-12).

Our art programs, while they came along later than music in our College’s history, have a long and beautiful legacy at Saint Rose, with talented faculty over the years who are special to us. Despite this history and amazing alumni outcomes, new students were not enrolling at a rate we once saw. Enrollment in our arts programs dropped by approximately 47% in the last five years.

The ties between the curriculum in the various Center for Art & Design majors and our accreditation with the National Association of Schools of Art & Design made it impossible to eliminate one arts major and maintain others.

Any organization, when faced with a structural deficit, needs to figure out where those losses are coming from and stop the losses.

The cost of delivering these programs exceeds the tuition income by hundreds of thousands of dollars per year, and this consequently negatively impacts funds for other needs. Expenses in these programs stayed the same while enrollment (i.e. tuition revenue) declined.

Due to the number of student-athletes, athletics is net revenue positive. In addition, the athletics programs draw a large number of students whose enrollment helps with covering the College’s operational expenses. Only a few of the teams have full scholarships.

Our new food vendor, Sodexo, is paying for the food truck as well as providing additional scholarship funds for our students, while also providing quality food and service to our students. Students pay for the dining services, so it is not related to the College’s operating budget. Students had input into the selection of Sodexo as the new vendor.

While art and music are liberal arts programs, many liberal arts programs remain at the College. These changes will not impact the Saint Rose mission of graduating students with critical thinking and writing skills and a deep understanding of how to look at the challenges of our world through the lens and construct of social justice. That is deeply rooted in our founding values.

Students will still have the option of majoring in biology at the undergraduate level and then seeking a master’s degree in education in order to seek 7-12 certification as biology teachers.

We are retaining undergraduate adolescence education programs in English and social studies and will continue to offer an array of well-respected teaching programs at the undergraduate and graduate level, as well as programs that prepare education-related professionals such as school psychologists, school counselors, school principals and district superintendents.

The program closures will eliminate 33 of the College’s 151 full-time tenured and tenure-track faculty positions in December 2021. In addition, eight full-time visiting faculty positions on annual contracts will not be renewed.

The College conducted a disparate impact analysis that looked at race, gender, and age and found no disparate impact.

These changes impact 10% of our undergraduate students and 4% of our graduate students. All of our current students are able to finish their degrees and will receive individualized degree completion plans. For graduate students, seniors, and juniors – who make up approximately 62% of the students in the programs selected for closure – very little will change. First-year students and sophomores will have more involved completion plans, but again, they will be able to finish their degree.

Again, graduate students, seniors, and juniors will see very little impact. First-year and sophomore students will have more involved degree completion plans.

The process is carefully planned and may involve arrangements with other universities, course substitutions, and other measures as needed. Students in their senior year or at least mid-way through their graduate program should be able to finish their degrees before the faculty in their programs leave the institution. For other students, the College may utilize cross-registration or develop agreements with other institutions for needed courses. Such agreements may enable students to take the remaining required courses at those institutions and transfer those credits to Saint Rose for degree completion or to transfer to other institutions with comparable programs with pre-arranged transfer credit.

Students in programs selected for closure will receive a follow-up message from the interim provost on December 8 that will include details on an upcoming meeting with the dean of their school. Interim President Marcia White has also scheduled a Zoom meeting for students and their families to talk about these changes and answer questions on Monday, December 21, at 6 p.m. Families who are signed up to receive Saint Rose emails will have received the meeting link in an email about these changes. All students will have also received the link for this meeting in the email they received from Interim President White about the changes.

During the spring semester, the dean of each school also will meet individually with each student affected by the program closures and work with them to develop their individual plans for degree completion. Please keep in mind these plans are complex and will be available as early as possible the spring semester.

Students and families with pressing questions can call our switchboard at 1.800.637.8556 during special extended call-in hours. Those hours are December 8 (until 8 p.m.), December 9 and 10 (8:30 a.m. to 7 p.m.), and December 11 (8:30 a.m. to 6 p.m.)

Your spring semester will go on as planned. During the spring semester, you will work with the dean of your school on an individual plan for degree completion.

Students in programs selected for closure will receive a follow-up message from the interim provost on December 8 that will include details on an upcoming meeting with the dean of their school.

Interim President Marcia White has also scheduled a Zoom meeting for students and their families to talk about these changes and answer questions on Monday, December 21, at 6 p.m. Families who are signed up to receive Saint Rose emails will have received the meeting link in an email about these changes. All students will have also received the link for this meeting in the email they received from Interim President White about the changes.

Students and families with pressing questions can call our switchboard at 1.800.637.8556 during special extended call-in hours. Those hours are December 8 (until 8 p.m.), December 9 and 10 (8:30 a.m. to 7 p.m.), and December 11 (8:30 a.m. to 6 p.m.)

Your Saint Rose grants and scholarships will not be affected as long as you maintain your full-time status and maintain satisfactory academic progress.

Students accepted into our undergraduate programs should reach out to their admissions counselor or leskok@strose.edu. Students accepted into our graduate programs should contact gallaghd@strose.edu or speak with the admissions representative who handled their acceptance.

Overhead costs, curricular and co-curricular adjustments, and the Distinguished Professor Program, a retirement incentive for full-time faculty with 20 years or more of service make up some of the other savings.

Faculty with 20 years of service would be provided a 3-month lump sum payment, and health benefits through December 2021, as well as other perks if they agree to retire from their full-time faculty positions as of June 30, 2021. The lump sum payment would occur July 2021.

In addition to the lump sum payment, faculty members who choose this option would be able to remain enrolled in the Saint Rose health insurance plan through December 2021, keep their offices for one year, use the library, attend events, and retain their Saint Rose email addresses.

The concept of this plan is that for many faculty members, their position at Saint Rose is part of their identity, and integral to their daily life. This plan would enable those eligible senior faculty members to have a year to transition to life after Saint Rose and is a way to extend our gratitude for their years of service.

For years, nursing was the second-most-searched-for program on the Saint Rose website when the College was not offering a nursing program. Admissions counselors were frequently approached by students asking for it, as they assumed it was something Saint Rose offered. We extensively studied the potential for nursing enrollment before submitting plans for the program to the New York State Education Department.

According to the American Association of Colleges of Nursing (AACN), “the U.S. is projected to experience a shortage of Registered Nurses (RNs) that is expected to intensify as Baby Boomers age and the need for health care grows. Compounding the problem is the fact that nursing schools across the country are struggling to expand capacity to meet the rising demand for care given the national move toward healthcare reform.”

The Saint Rose Bachelor of Science in Nursing program is offered in partnership with two local institutions – St. Peter’s Hospital College of Nursing and Samaritan Hospital School of Nursing, where our BSN students will receive the clinical instruction portion of their degree. That means the College did not have to invest in all of the clinical equipment and resources needed to provide that portion of the program. To launch the program, we hired one faculty member – Dr. Joanne Peters Steele, who serves as faculty, director, and program chair for the program. The other Saint Rose-provided courses are taught by current Saint Rose faculty.

Although the program didn’t receive state approval until July 2020, we were able to enroll 11 nursing students very late in the admissions cycle, and we have strong application numbers for both Spring 2021 and Fall 2021. The program is selective with each incoming cohort limited to 32 students. Recently, we received a $100,000 endowed scholarship in nursing, given in memory of one of our nursing alums. This gift allows us to support the dreams of future nursing students for many years to come.

You can learn more about the nursing degree program on our website.

The degree stands and is as valid as the day it was issued. The closure of a program at Saint Rose does not devalue the degree – or wealth of knowledge – earned by our graduates.

We are sorry to have had to inform students of this news during the time when they were taking finals. We needed to provide the impacted faculty with notification of the elimination of their positions one year prior to their date of termination as required by the College’s Faculty Manual. In order for them to receive that notification that their last semester of teaching would be Fall 2021, we needed to tell them prior to the end of this fall semester, which is this week.

Those decisions have not been made yet, as affected faculty are with us until December 2021 and current students will all be able to finish their programs. The College’s music industry program is remaining, and those students will continue to use the Massry Center for practices, classes, and performances.

No. It does not. Math and chemistry are required parts of various curriculum at Saint Rose and full-time faculty remain in these departments. There will continue to be math and chemistry courses at Saint Rose.

No. Biology and Biochemistry are still majors being offered at Saint Rose. And students who wish to become biology teachers will still have the option of majoring in biology at the undergraduate level and then seeking a master’s degree in education in order to seek 7-12 certification as biology teachers.

Art has been a visible and appreciated part of our campus culture and curriculum, and so this decision was gut-wrenching. The financial reality is that these programs were contributing to our ongoing structural deficit.

Enrollment in the art and design programs dropped from 123.3 students in 2015 to 65.6 students in 2020 – a 47% decrease. In 2020, only 10 first-year and transfer students enrolled as new students in those programs.

The decision was about how much it cost to operate those programs when they weren’t generating enrollment. The College has 14 full-time faculty members in the art programs. It’s a 5:1 student-to-faculty ratio. (The overall student-to-faculty ratio at the College is 14:1). Those salary expenses, in addition to the other operating costs, meant expenses far exceeded revenue. Unfortunately, they were not sustainable.

It is true that music has been part of the College since it opened its doors, and fortunately, we are retaining a presence in music with the music industry program, which has graduated some phenomenal artists and professionals and continues to attract students from around the world. We are proud of the decades upon decades of talented music teachers who graduated from Saint Rose.

While three of the four music programs will be closed, music industry remains, and it made up slightly more than half of the enrollment in the music department.

Enrollment in the Music (BA), Performance (BM), and Music Education (MS) programs dropped by 13% (from 111.3 students in 2015 to 96.7 students in 2020). While enrollment has remained relatively flat, it was the cost to maintain the curriculum vs. enrollment revenue due to the extensive core and facilities required (wide variety of instruments, vocal instruction, etc.). The student-to-faculty ratio in those three programs is 6:1. The student-to-faculty ratio overall at the College in 14:1. Music industry has an 11:1 student-to-faculty ratio.

As we have previously said in these FAQs, music industry, the program in the music department that remains, has approximately 100 students enrolled, which is more than the aggregate enrollment of the BA in Music, the BM in Performance, and the BS in Music Education (K-12).

Enrollment in the Music (BA), Performance (BM), and Music Education (MS) programs dropped by 13% (from 111.3 students in 2015 to 96.7 students in 2020). While enrollment has remained relatively flat, the relative cost to maintain the curriculum due to the extensive core and facilities required (wide variety of instruments, vocal instruction, etc.) vs. enrollment revenue increased. The student-to-faculty ratio in those three programs is 6:1. The student-to-faculty ratio overall at the College is 14:1. Music industry has an 11:1 student-to-faculty ratio.

We have heard from music education graduates from the Class of 2010 and other class years from around that period who mention the program’s popularity. In the last 10 years, undergraduate enrollment in music education has declined 43.5% (or 54 students) from Fall 2010 to Fall 2020. Meanwhile, the cost to run the program has not decreased.

We have not yet formalized any partnerships with other universities or colleges to provide teach-out courses.

Each student will be given an individualized degree completion plan that spells out exactly the classes they need to take and when in order to complete their degrees. We will hold as many of those courses as possible on campus. If the plan calls for a student to take a course that is under a cross-registration agreement with another institution, the course will be listed as a Saint Rose course on their transcript, and we would make sure the student can get into the course, and the course will not need to be transferred.

If a student wishes to take a course at another institution, prior approval is needed. See the link for the necessary form.

We have always had cross-registration agreements with other institutions, even before there was a need for teach-out plans. Some of those institutions include the University at Albany and Siena College. Seeing what relationships we need to utilize in order for students to complete their degrees is part of the process of developing students’ individualized plans. Any formal agreements we have with other institutions will be shared with students in the related programs.

If you received an art or music talent award that was supposed to remain with you for your entire education at Saint Rose, you will continue to receive it, even if you change majors at Saint Rose. If you have additional questions, please follow up with the Financial Aid office at finaid@strose.edu.

While our music education students have no doubt been strong contributors to our campus community, there are 2,254 undergraduate students at Saint Rose, many of whom are deeply engaged in campus life, too.

The process of academic program review is prescribed in the Faculty Manual. The process was already operating under a compressed period of time in order to have recommendations to the Saint Rose Board of Trustees by the deadline the board set. In addition to meetings during the day, the review team met on nights and weekends in order to meet that timeline and carefully review the data and hear from department chairs.

When a program is eliminated, the full-time faculty lines are also eliminated, which is where a significant portion of the overall budget savings comes from. As students in affected programs graduate, there will be fewer and fewer students remaining in those programs and a reduced need for staffing. Temporary faculty who meet Saint Rose standards will be hired to teach the needed courses.

As we said when we announced this decision, these decisions were made with data and are not a commentary on the value of the programs, the skill of the faculty, or the importance of the fields students have chosen to pursue. Ninety percent of undergraduate enrollment and 96% of graduate enrollment were in programs not selected for closure. The five most popular undergraduate programs at Saint Rose are: Communications, Criminal Justice Behavior and Law, Music Industry, Forensic Psychology, and Psychology. The five most popular graduate programs at Saint Rose are: Communication Sciences and Disorders, Master of Business Administration, Clinical Mental Health Counseling, Educational/School Psychology, and Social Work.

Students whose faculty advisors are also the faculty who will leave the College in December 2021 will be assigned new advisors at that time. The new advisors will have copies of the advisee’s degree completion plan and will be knowledgeable about the student’s situation. We will use available resources, such as Academic Advising staff and Navigate, to ensure that plans are available.

We will provide students with the equipment they need to complete their programs. The long-term future of Picotte Hall is to be determined as we look at what the College’s needs will be. The majority of students in the graphic design program are current juniors and seniors. There were five new graphic design majors in Fall 2020.

We have had to make difficult financial decisions in this process, but that does not mean that we do not care about our students’ success. Our focus is on working on accurate and clear individual degree plans so you can finish your degrees. This information also will assist you in making decisions about your future, even if that means transferring to another college. We will provide you with the information as soon as possible, and we respect the decision you and your family will make. We want you to do what is best for you.

We will roll out plans as they are ready, and so some students will be getting their plans prior to February 15. These plans are very complex, and we don’t want to rush them and give students information that is not accurate. A student’s spring semester will go on as scheduled, and it is an opportunity for them to earn credits and progress toward their degrees. In order to make a sound transfer decision, we would suggest the student continue on as planned and then take the spring to explore options and make whatever decision they believe is best for them for Fall 2021.

The College is making these decisions in order to achieve a balanced budget by 2023 so it can serve students for many years to come. That’s why it was important to be proactive and make these difficult decisions.

We will not stop faculty from making decisions that are best for them. If a member of the faculty who is scheduled to be with us through 2021 decides to take another opportunity, we will find temporary faculty who meet Saint Rose standards to teach the needed courses. This is something that occurs in any typical academic year, as faculty choose to move on to other opportunities or take a leave of absence, etc.

Due to the number of student-athletes, athletics is net revenue positive. Our student-athletes are enrolled in many different programs at Saint Rose, and these enrollments help with covering the College’s operational expenses. Only a few of the teams have full scholarships. Athletics was evaluated in 2020, just like every other aspect of the College’s budget.

The College has been trying to address the deficit for a number of years. COVID-19 was a setback to this process, as the College lost several million dollars due to the pandemic. Across higher education, the pandemic has also had a significant impact on students’ decisions to attend college, which of course impacts enrollment.

The process we were required to follow is in the Faculty Manual. These program cuts were spread across all four schools at Saint Rose.

If this question is about financial aid, the delivery method of courses should not affect that, but you should consult with the Financial Aid office about your specific situation.

We will look into this as an option.

We may need to use cross-registration to fulfill course requirements, but we will avoid it if we can. Cross-registration is not unique to program closures. We already have cross-registration agreements with institutions as part of our normal operations. You will receive Saint Rose credit for those courses, and they will appear on your academic transcript as Saint Rose courses.

We may need to use cross-registration to fulfill course requirements, but we will avoid it if we can. Cross-registration is not unique to program closures. We already have cross-registration agreements with institutions as part of our normal operations. Because you will receive Saint Rose credit for those courses – and they will appear on your academic transcript as Saint Rose courses ¬– the cost is covered by your Saint Rose tuition. We will work with partner institutions, so students can register for the courses they need and that are prescribed in their degree completion plans. We will look at the issue of transportation for courses that would need to be taken off campus.

College affordability is a serious issue in this country, and it is a serious issue for Saint Rose students. We did not think it was fair to all Saint Rose students for them to subsidize programs that were not financially sustainable with tuition increases.

Cross-listed courses receive Saint Rose credit that is covered by your full-time Saint Rose tuition. We may need to use cross-registration to fulfill course requirements, but we will avoid it if we can.

We will waive the overload credit fee for students in the impacted programs.