MEMPHIS, Tenn. — The interim president at the University of Memphis is advocating changes that include dropping out-of-state tuition, increasing enrollment and graduation numbers, and adding online course offerings.
Interim President Brad Martin told The Commercial Appeal that he plans an "all hands on deck" meeting with university officials on Monday. He says the school will seek permission from the Tennessee Board of Regents to drop out-of-state tuition.
"It would appear we don't really generate any significant revenue from out-of-state tuition," Martin said. "We want to be rid of it. If we had the power to waive it ourselves, we would have done so."
Martin made the comments about his plans for the school during his one year in office while meeting Wednesday with the newspaper's editorial board.
"I hope by the end of the day Monday, I will have a little better idea of what I'm talking about," he said.
Martin, who has a business background, says he is trying to shape a new direction for the university that goes deeper into the business side of the operation.
Enrollment at the school has dropped to 20,321 from a high of 21,558 in 2011. Meanwhile, it acquired and has to maintain the old Lambuth University campus in Jackson, Tenn.
"From a business standpoint," Martin said, "I would tell you that increasing your fixed overhead and fewer customers is not a great mathematical model."
He said increasing enrollment and graduation rates is a priority.
"It's what these assets are for, and the community desperately needs it," he said. "Number two, that's how the math works on the business model."
He said the school plans to increase recruitment efforts and offer more online courses to attract more students.
There have also been discussions about the reallocation of resources as proposed budgets are drafted.
"This is turning the aircraft carrier around, not the speedboat," Martin said. "So you're talking about a period of years to probably get the resources allocated optimally. I won't be around the see that though, but it will be the first step."
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