Recently while scrolling through Facebook, there was a comment from an acquaintance on an article about the rising cost of college. The friend wondered why it should cost so much more than when he attended school. Instantly, I wanted to explain that as state appropriations declined for higher education over the years, tuition had to make up more of University’s budget. However, the cost of college and students’ ability to afford education is a much more complex discussion.

At Southeast, the mission is to provide access to higher education for our region. Part of that access is prioritizing making Southeast affordable. That’s a challenge, given the facts of paragraph one. Southeast is working on an Enhancing Recruitment and Student Success plan, even more pertinent following state budget cuts in previous years and reduced enrollment that forced Southeast to cut its operating budget. We know higher education is changing. We know the challenges we face. We’re working to align our enrollment plan with our strategic plan, so we’re focused. This enrollment plan includes a vast array of initiatives that fall into one of six objectives—all aligned with the University Strategic Plan:

/ Programs for Career-Ready Graduates

/ Expanding and Enhancing Program Delivery

/ Funding Resources

/ Supporting Students to Graduation

/ Enhancing Recruitment

/ Increasing and Strengthening Partnerships.

This issue of the magazine is dedicated to sharing progress that’s occurred in those areas this past year and opening a discussion with you. Since 43 percent of our students first generation college students and 40 percent are Pell eligible, it is imperative that Southeast remain a smart investment. We can debate why attend college at all, and that’s being done right now in our society. We can share statistics about the economic impact of a college degree. Anyone who has been to college knows it goes far beyond training for a career. It’s about learning skills that will prepare you for all the jobs that will makeup your career or the career you’ll have that maybe hasn’t even yet been created. We’ve done a lot of work during the last year with much more to be done. We look forward to your help: your input, your ideas, your support, as we strive to make our University ever improving to serve students who are looking to transform their futures. It will take time and trial and hard work, but we’ll succeed because, after all, we have the will to do.


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