ECSU eyes lower athletics deficit


Josh Lassiter is vice chancellor for business and finance at Elizabeth City State University.


By Reggie Ponder
Staff Writer

Wednesday, June 13, 2018

Elizabeth City State University officials heard yet another reason on Tuesday why meeting ECSU’s enrollment target this fall will be a good thing.

Josh Lassiter, ECSU’s vice chancellor for business and finance, told members of the Board of Trustees’ Finance, Audit and Strategic Planning Committee that the university’s operating deficit in auxiliary activities shrinks as enrollment grows.

That means ECSU’s deficit in athletics would shrink from $500,000 to $200,000 in 2018-19 if the university meets its enrollment target of 1,700 students, Lassiter said. And the deficit goes away entirely if ECSU reaches an enrollment of 1,850 in a couple of years, he said.

ECSU is currently on pace to exceed its target enrollment of new students for fall 2018 but Lassiter pointed out the university also must do a good job of retaining current students in order to meet the 1,700 target.

Althea Riddick, who heads enrollment management for ECSU, said in a presentation to the trustees’ Academic Services and Enrollment Management Committee, which also met on Tuesday, that the university is working “to balance both sides of the equation,” recruiting new students and retaining current ones.

Riddick said ECSU staff is staying in touch with students and working to ensure those that have confirmed they will enroll this fall follow through with that commitment.

“We’re doing everything we can to ensure that these students actually show up,” Riddick said.

Staff are using social media and phone calls to stay in touch with students. They’re also confirming that students who have been admitted are still admissible — that is, they still meet academic requirements for enrolling in the university, Riddick explained.

Interim Chancellor Karrie Dixon praised the work of Riddick and the admissions and financial aid staff.

“You can feel the energy in the room around enrollment,” Dixon said.

The university has set a target of 720 new students for the fall semester — 600 new freshmen and 120 new transfer students — and is currently on pace to exceed that goal.

Last year the university had 493 new students confirmed as of Aug. 3. This year, there were 577 new students confirmed as of June 11. The university is on pace to enroll 757 new students this fall, according to Riddick.

Dixon said one important development is that ECSU staff are now working as a team and “no longer working in silos.”

Lassiter said the university’s general fund is in good shape as the fiscal year nears its end.

He also said that $2.1 million of the $2.8 million special appropriation from the legislature for this fiscal year had been spent as of March 31 and that the university is on pace to safely spend or carry forward all of the current year stabilization funds.