Falling enrollment, $77 million in the bank, higher tuition and delivery robots under a new 20-year food service contract are apparently on their way to the University of Northern Colorado.
These were among the items discussed at the university’s board of trustees’ finance and audit committee meeting Friday morning at the Campus Commons. The three-hour session included a review of the university’s preliminary budget for fiscal year 2023 which begins July 1.
During the meeting, council members heard:
- The university forecasts a 10% drop in undergraduate enrollment this fall to 6,650 students from 7,357 students a year ago.
- An assumption of a 2% tuition increase for undergraduate resident students, 3% for non-residents, 2% for graduate students, and a 3% tuition increase.
- A stronger cash position to start the fiscal year with approximately $77.1 million in the bank thanks to one-time federal stimulus funding, oil and gas royalties, and significant underspending in fiscal year 22 .
- A projected net operating income of $186.3 million (going in) and projected total expenses of $195.1 million (going out).
And while UNC began its formal and official celebrations on Friday evening, earlier in the week, Sodexo, a food service and facilities management company, announced a two-decade partnership with the university beginning on 1st of July.
UNC spokeswoman Deanna Herbert said the contract includes an initial investment of $15 million by Sodexo with a total return to the university of more than $100 million over the next 10 years. The deal is expected to optimize the university’s restaurant operations, create opportunities for facility upgrades and generate more local and diverse retail options on campus, according to Herbert.
In a press release earlier in the week, Sodexo said it would work with UNC to expand the university’s existing facilities, including a renovation of the Tobey-Kendel Dining Hall to include Starbucks, Crisol, Bowlful and Empire Pizza.
During the second or third year of the contract, Sodexo will deploy robots delivering hot meals and cold drinks directly to dormitories or other areas of campus, on demand.
Sodexo will also offer concession options for UNC sporting events through food trucks, new menu items and a bar concept to enhance the fan experience, also according to the company.
“As someone with a background in hotel management, I am constantly thinking about how to improve the overall experience at UNC for our students,” UNC President Andy Feinstein said in the statement. “Our partnership with Sodexo allows us to do just that. I look forward to UNC and the university community benefiting from this partnership for many years to come.
The full board will hear more about budget matters and will likely approve the new budget at next month’s meeting. The meeting is scheduled for Friday, June 10 at 8:30 a.m.