Economic Downturn Creates Uncertainties at Scripps

As the U.S. economy continues to flounder, many
students have been wondering about the economy’s
impact on Scripps’ finances. Such a sustained economic
downturn has caused the College to reassess and adjust
many of its budgetary calculations and priorities.
The Office of Admission has already received its first
wave of prospective student applications for the class of
2014, which included a record-breaking number of ap-
plications for its Nov. 1 deadline. The office has also seen
twice as many early decision applicants as it did last year.
These numbers show that the economy is not deterring
many prospective students from applying to potentially
expensive institutions. But the increased number of ap-
plications for merit-based scholarships reveals that the
economic downturn has still affected students’ approaches
to the college application process.
The number of Californian applicants to Scripps has
increased most dramatically. Many students are turning
from the University of California system to private insti-
tutions, reflecting a concern over the reliability of state-
funded public institutions in economically uncertain
times. Though it is too early to gauge how regular appli-
cations will be affected, the high number of applications
received so far bodes well for the College. An increased
number of applicants makes for a more competitive ac-
ceptance rate; Scripps’ 33 percent acceptance rate for the
class of 2013 made it one of the most selective women’s
colleges in the nation. Patricia Goldsmith, vice president
for enrollment, marketing and communication, said
that “this economic downturn will work to [Scripps’]
advantage.”
Also working to Scripps’ advantage is an anonymous
gift of $5.9 million, given to the College last year to
be used for merit-based scholarships. This gift is to be
apportioned to qualifying scholars over the next five
years, lessening the burden on the College to provide
merit-based scholarships. It has also allowed Scripps to
allocate financial resources to other areas, such as need-
based financial aid. The Office of Financial Aid has been
able to increase its budget by 10 percent this year, with
over $1 million available in grant money.
The economy has impacted students’ families in re-
quests for financial aid—the number of requests increased
by 17 percent this year. Despite this increase, all requests
for aid were fulfilled this past academic year. The cost of
tuition increased by 2 percent from the 2008-2009 to the
2009-2010 academic year, which is the lowest percent
increase in tuition the College has seen.
The financial aid office limits the amount of money an
individual can borrow through the College. Scripps has
been trying to decrease the amount of debt its students
go into for education, and the Office of Financial Aid
encourages students who have experienced a change in
finances to talk to them to reassess their aid packages.
Also contributing to the College’s relatively sound
financial position is the fact that it has not relied heavily
on investments to cover operating costs. Scripps has not
asked any faculty members to take early retirements, nor
has it discharged any staff workers for financial reasons.
On the contrary, Scripps hired 10 new faculty members
for the 2009-2010 academic year, and gave a 1 percent
pay increase for some staff and all faculty members.
Scripps’ endowment, however, is one aspect of its
budget that was negatively affected by the economic
downturn. The endowment lost 18.7 percent for the
fiscal year, totaling $57 million. In spite of this down-
turn, the College managed to finish the year without an
operating deficit.
Though Scripps’ finances have been impacted by the
economic downturn in a number of ways, Vice President
of Business Affairs Treasurer James Manifold believes
Scripps is managed well financially and will handle its
financial troubles.

As the U.S. economy continues to flounder, many students have been wondering about the economy’s impact on Scripps’ finances. Such a sustained economic downturn has caused the College to reassess and adjust many of its budgetary calculations and priorities.

The Office of Admission has already received its first wave of prospective student applications for the class of 2014, which included a record-breaking number of applications for its Nov. 1 deadline. The office has also seen twice as many early decision applicants as it did last year. These numbers show that the economy is not deterring many prospective students from applying to potentially expensive institutions. But the increased number of applications for merit-based scholarships reveals that the economic downturn has still affected students’ approaches to the college application process.

The number of Californian applicants to Scripps has increased most dramatically. Many students are turning from the University of California system to private institutions, reflecting a concern over the reliability of state-funded public institutions in economically uncertain times. Though it is too early to gauge how regular applications will be affected, the high number of applications received so far bodes well for the College. An increased number of applicants makes for a more competitive acceptance rate; Scripps’ 33 percent acceptance rate for the class of 2013 made it one of the most selective women’s colleges in the nation. Patricia Goldsmith, vice president for enrollment, marketing and communication, said that “this economic downturn will work to [Scripps’] advantage.”

Also working to Scripps’ advantage is an anonymous gift of $5.9 million, given to the College last year to be used for merit-based scholarships. This gift is to be apportioned to qualifying scholars over the next five years, lessening the burden on the College to provide merit-based scholarships. It has also allowed Scripps to allocate financial resources to other areas, such as need-based financial aid. The Office of Financial Aid has been able to increase its budget by 10 percent this year, with over $1 million available in grant money.

The economy has impacted students’ families in requests for financial aid—the number of requests increased by 17 percent this year. Despite this increase, all requests for aid were fulfilled this past academic year. The cost of tuition increased by 2 percent from the 2008-2009 to the 2009-2010 academic year, which is the lowest percent increase in tuition the College has seen. The financial aid office limits the amount of money an individual can borrow through the College. Scripps has been trying to decrease the amount of debt its students go into for education, and the Office of Financial Aid encourages students who have experienced a change in finances to talk to them to reassess their aid packages.

Also contributing to the College’s relatively sound financial position is the fact that it has not relied heavily on investments to cover operating costs. Scripps has not asked any faculty members to take early retirements, nor has it discharged any staff workers for financial reasons. On the contrary, Scripps hired 10 new faculty members for the 2009-2010 academic year, and gave a 1 percent pay increase for some staff and all faculty members. Scripps’ endowment, however, is one aspect of its budget that was negatively affected by the economic downturn. The endowment lost 18.7 percent for the fiscal year, totaling $57 million. In spite of this downturn, the College managed to finish the year without an operating deficit.

Though Scripps’ finances have been impacted by the economic downturn in a number of ways, Vice President of Business Affairs Treasurer James Manifold believes Scripps is managed well financially and will handle its financial troubles.