PROVIDENCE – The state has hired Alvarez & Marsal Public Sector Services LLC to provide analysis and recommendations related to programmatic, operational and financial improvements at Rhode Island College, the Council on Postsecondary Education confirmed on Monday.
A&M, a global firm with Boston offices, was hired to conduct a program review and operational review, to analyze enrollment strategy, federal grant optimization and the college’s COVID-19 response. The Office of the Postsecondary Commissioner says the analysis is needed due to the financial challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic on the college that exacerbated existing structural problems.
RIC reported a $10 million budget deficit for fiscal 2021 in August, forcing layoffs, staffing cuts and pay cuts amid sharp enrollment declines due to the pandemic. The college had already run a $13.7 million deficit over the previous three fiscal years, as well.
The R.I. Board of Education also recently approved a tuition increase in December, in which tuition and fees at RIC for in-state students increased to $10,702 for 2021. Out-of-state students attending RIC will pay $25,900. The school is projecting that it will have $67.8 million in revenue for 2022.
A&M’s contract said that its work would take place over roughly 10 weeks at the cost of $76,000 per week, accounting for a total cost of roughly $760,000 to the state. The work began last month and will run through at least Feb. 28. The consultant will be required to provide at least four full-time equivalent workers on the project who will be supported by additional staff, as needed.
The consultant will evaluate net financial performance and academic outcome by program level, and will issue recommendations. The review will also include the development an an enrollment strategy that will include an operational analysis that identifies optimal tuition level, yearly increases and target student demographics over the next five years.
The consultant’s review of operations will also include an analysis of the use of residence halls and their operations, athletics review capital strategy, housekeeping, dining services, administrative functions and IT operations.
The contract also said that the consultant will identify options for additional federal funding, implementing timelines and will provide support in the implementation of operational changes necessary to comply with federal grant opportunities.
The contractor will also provide updates to state agencies on its work, and will submit a final report to the Office of the Postsecondary Commissioner.
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