William Woods University Shows Stability, Continued Growth

While other colleges and universities are facing tough times, William Woods University is in a uniquely strong position, continuing to provide accessible, affordable education for students from 45 states and approximately 20 foreign countries. While the economic crisis continues to plague the U.S., William Woods University is faring well, thanks to increased enrollment, sound fiscal management and wise investment strategy.


Mission—As an independent voice in higher education, William Woods University distinguishes itself as a student-centered and professions-oriented university committed to the values of ethics, self-liberation, and lifelong education of students in the world community.


Tuition—William Woods University remains an affordable educational option, with traditional undergraduate tuition increases below 4 percent for 13 consecutive years.  G&AS tuition remains extremely affordable, and we are competitive statewide. 


Financial Aid—WWU’s average undergraduate financial aid package for 2008-09 is $14,000. Numerous scholarships/financial awards are available, ranging from $1,000 to 75 percent of all tuition, room and board.  


LEAD—We are completing our ninth year of the LEAD program, which encourages and rewards student involvement in university life beyond the classroom. The program makes college more financially accessible, while ensuring more confident, well-rounded students.


Enrollment— William Woods University admitted the largest incoming class on record this past fall, and all signs point to another strong recruitment year for fall 2009, with overall enrollment expected to surpass 3,600. 


Applications—Applications for our traditional undergraduate program are 22 percent above what they were a year ago (and 61 percent above what they were two years ago).  Our Graduate & Adult Studies program continues to expand.    


Graduate & Adult Studies—Our Graduate & Adult Studies program is predicting about 1,100 new students during 2009 (this is a year-round admissions program, which does not follow an academic calendar). Our master of business administration program, in particular, is growing—moving up from 12th to 5th place in enrollment among Missouri and Kansas schools offering MBA programs (Ingram’s magazine, January 2009).  Our master of education and educational specialist programs have long been popular—at last count, about 30 superintendents and approximately 300 principals or assistant principals in Missouri now hold a graduate degree from William Woods University.  In addition to our Fulton campus, we have satellite campuses in Jefferson City, Columbia and, most recently, we added a site in Blue Springs.  Altogether, we take our programs to approximately 120 communities, making higher education accessible for working adults throughout Missouri and in Arkansas. 


Capping enrollment— William Woods University has no reason to cap enrollment as we completed three new residence halls in recent years, and anticipate further construction, thanks in part to strong support from alumni and friends.


Endowment—While WWU has experienced the effects of the downturn in the financial markets, the value of our endowment had decreased only 4.3 percent in the last quarter of the fiscal year. Our endowment is invested for the long-term in a diversified portfolio of stocks and bonds, so we have not experienced a drastic drop in our endowment’s value.


Donations—As a result of the continued support of friends and alumni of the University, annual giving is up 3.5 percent for the current fiscal year as compared to the same timeframe for fiscal year 2008.  Additionally, in October WWU received its largest gift ever:  $2.5 million from The Lucille and Bruce Lambert Charitable Foundation, Inc.  The foundation continues the philanthropic work of Lucille Brockman Lambert, a 1933 graduate of William Woods, and her husband, Bruce Lambert. 


Budget—We are completing our eighth consecutive year of operating in the black. We have not had to withdraw funds from our endowment to fund operations.


Academic programs—We have no plans to cut academic programs. One of the reasons our enrollment continues to climb is that WWU is program-driven. We offer a professions-oriented curriculum, with specialized programs in American Sign Language Interpreting (one of 25 in North America), juvenile justice (the first and only program in the state), criminal justice (specializing in homeland security), social work, athletic training, communications, graphic design and equestrian science (the first school to offer a four-year degree).  All WWU programs are distinct and offer unique, co-curricular learning opportunities for students. Our Mentor-Mentee Program, for example, provides the opportunity for unique student-faculty research partnerships.


Campus improvements—We will not be delaying campus improvements and we have no deferred maintenance. We recently completed a substantial number of campus improvements, and our strategic plan calls for further improvements, so we are moving forward with our plans.


Employment—We do not have a hiring freeze, and we have not laid off employees.


Benefits—We continue to provide 100 percent of each employee’s health insurance and contribute 7 percent to each employee’s retirement fund.