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Brandeis University's Community Newspaper — Waltham, Mass.

Grad schools help budget, bring in revenue

Published: October 16, 2009
Section: News

Admissions to all Brandeis Graduate Schools has risen in 2009-2010, leading to a positive net revenue for the university.

Fiscal Year 2009 (FY09) was the first year the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences (GSAS) was able to contribute positively to the fiscal landscape of Brandeis, making the combined revenue for the university from the graduate schools in FY09 $6.6 million.

The increased admission has not reduced the quality of students admitted and the average GRE and GPA scores of accepted students actually rose significantly this year, Dean of the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences Gregory Freeze said.

Freeze credited last year’s larger application pool to the exceptional work of their admissions and curriculum departments in both creating new programs and marketing them “in imaginative and vigorous ways.”

At GSAS, applications were exceptionally high this fall with a six and 36 percent increase in applications to the doctoral and masters certificate programs respectively.

This allowed GSAS to become more selective and to admit more tuition-paying students, which generated their $300,000 contribution to the university.

“As part of the [Curriculum and Academic Restructuring Committee] proposals, GSAS has reduced PhD admissions by 50 percent for 2009-10 and 2010-11. That brings a substantial savings (in stipends paid to the students); it essentially covers the cost of fifth-year funding, which was announced four years ago and went into effect for the first time this fall,” Freeze wrote in an e-mail message to The Hoot.

The Heller School saw a 19 percent increase in applicants after a downward trend of applications the previous three years.

Heller Dean Lisa Lynch attributes this to the decline in the labor market and the pursuit of higher education for additional career options.

There are currently 140 doctoral candidates at Heller, and 359 Master’s students. Doctoral candidates receive a stipend of $17,500 for three years, and select students may receive more funding from government or private grants.

Tuition from Master’s students is expected to bring in $6.8 million in FY10, which is a third of its operating costs. Last year Heller contributed $2.4 million to the university.

Lynch explained in an e-mail to The Hoot her concerns for the future, saying, “Headwinds we face in the upcoming year include the state of the economy, financial aid, and the decision by the Ford foundation to eliminate funding for the International Ford Fellows program that provided significant financial assistance to many Heller students in the past.”

This weekend marks Heller’s 50th anniversary, and several events are being sponsored all over campus to celebrate. Over the summer, Heller received the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism training grant for $1.2 million over three years which will finance the doctoral program, and another $900,000 in sponsored research.

The International Business School admitted 50 new students this year, 25 of whom are Brandeis seniors who will join the Masters in International Economics and Finance program.

“While we of course can’t assume that the crisis is entirely behind us, we are pleased by the size of our incoming class and the consequences this has for our revenues in FY10. We also continue to be pleased with the level of financial support from our ever-growing base of donors,” Dean Bruce Magid of the International Business School told The Hoot in an e-mail. Most IBS students receive some form of financial aid; however, only a small amount comes from the university endowment.

The Rabb School of Continuing Studies only offers Master’s programs. With a small staff of 10, it is able to contribute the most monetarily to university of any of the graduate programs. Last year it contributed $4.5 million dollars to the university. Rabb has six programs; five are offered entirely online and four are offered on campus as well.

Many of Rabb’s students are supported by their employers, which allows financial aid to be kept to a minimum. Admissions are rolling at Rabb so it is difficult to nail down a specific percentage of admissions and application increase, but it has seen a small rise in both.

Dean Michaele Whelan of Rabb said, “this gives a greater depth to the school’s ability to reach out to appropriate professional students.”