Summer programs could raise revenue

As students think about applying for summer jobs, the University is also in search of some summer income.

Yale has $100 million to find and a cheap, largely effortless way to find at least some of it: summer programs held on the University’s campus.

University officials see summer as a largely untapped source of funds, and plan to utilize more of the campus during these months.
Exploration SummerProgram
University officials see summer as a largely untapped source of funds, and plan to utilize more of the campus during these months.

To help close the University’s remaining $100 million budget gap, administrators are planning to bring more day camps, conferences and academic programs to campus between May and August — if not this summer, then next summer, Provost Peter Salovey said in an interview Tuesday.

“So much of the staff and infrastructure of Yale is based on a12-month year, yet so many students are gone in the summer,” Salovey said. “So how do you deal with the fact that many campus facilities are available, and yet so many of our traditional constituents are gone?”

The expansion of summer offerings is one of several measures the University is considering to balance the budget, including offering retirement incentives to faculty and imposing further spending cuts. Administrators said they are confident more organizations will want to host summer programs at Yale, though it remains unclear how much revenue the move would generate.

‘ROOM TO EXPAND’

Summer students use dormitories and dining halls that would otherwise lie empty for months at a time, Salovey explained, so enrichment programs such as the Exploration Summer Program and the Ivy Scholars Program allow the University to raise revenue at a low cost.

Summer students, attending both Yale Summer Session and independent programs, generate revenue for the University from housing, dining and — when it comes to Yale Summer Session students — tuition as well, said Susan Adler, Yale’s director of conference services, who oversees Yale’s summer operations.

Adler declined to disclose just how much income each summer program brings to Yale, but Yale Summer Session students pay $2,750 for each course credit they take and $2,158 for five weeks of room and board, according to the program’s Web site. The University-sponsored program drew 150 high school students and 1,100 college students for Yale courses taught by regular faculty in 2008, said Kathryn Young, associate director of summer programs.

In addition, a total of about 2,000 high school students stayed on campus for programs other than Summer Session for at least two nights last summer, Adler said. Meanwhile, the campus played host to about 230 college-aged students and 900 adults — for events ranging from the Ivy Scholars Program, a leadership seminar for high school students sponsored by Yale’s International Security Studies center, to teacher preparation workshops. About 1,000 people came to Yale for daytime conferences and camps, she added.

Though the organizations that sponsor most of these visitors pocket their registration fees and tuition, Adler said, Yale keeps housing, dining and classroom use fees, which is standard at college campuses.

Adler’s office frequently fields calls from organizations interested in coming to Yale, she said, but the number of conferences and programs per summer held steady at around 10 for several years until this past year, when it was not necessary for the University to expand summer offerings to raise revenue.

Now, her staff has begun exploring options for expanding the offerings of current partners and creating more Yale-sponsored programs, she said.

“I don’t think we could fill everything, but I think there’s room to expand,” Adler said.

Summer Session students fill only three residential colleges — this year, Davenport, Pierson and Trumbull colleges — with many college-aged students finding their own housing off-campus. Students participating in the Exploration Summer Program, popularly known as Explo, fill Old Campus for their three to six weeks in New Haven, Young said, while students from other programs occupy different residential colleges throughout the summer. As the cycle of residential college renovations nears its end, Salovey said, more space will become free.

“We’ll need more space,” Adler said. “But it’s just a matter of coordinating things with the Council of Masters.”

The availability of classroom space — already tight during the summer — will limit the scale of the expansion, Adler said. Fitting potentially hundreds more students into the campus’s existing housing and classroom space may be complicated, she added, but feasible.

‘A VERY FAIR PRICE’

Hosting a program at Yale is slightly more expensive than hosting at other campuses Explo has used, said Moira Kelly, executive director of Explo, which brings about 650 rising 10th through 12th grade students to Yale annually. (Explo, which also sponsors sessions at Wellesley College and St. Mark’s School near Boston, charges students $4,875 for room, board, tuition and miscellaneous fees for a three-week stay, according to the program’s Web site.)

But Kelly said she thinks Yale is worth it — a belief that will likely help the University to attract more programs to campus as administrators seek to find more income.

“The problem is, you’re not comparing apples to apples,” Kelly said. “For what Yale offers, I think it’s a very fair price. It’s not to say that somebody can’t find a campus somewhere else in the country where it may cost less, but you’re not going to find all the same pieces you’d find at Yale.”

Yale offers several advantages over other campuses, including audio-visual equipment in most classrooms and a greater variety of dining options, she said. And then there are other less concrete advantages. Though Explo chose Yale for several reasons, Kelly said, the school’s architecture and reputation made it even more attractive.

“The architecture is such that when kids who have never been to college campuses before walk onto Yale’s campus, it really is something,” Kelly said. “And certainly the fact that Yale has a very positive reputation is good for us. People generally have a positive response to Yale.”

Yale’s most serious drawback, Kelly said, is New Haven’s reputation for being unsafe. Kelly and Adler both said they must make an effort to smooth over the concerns of parents and potential summer program sponsors. Generally, explaining all of Yale’s security measures and the University’s track record is enough to convince doubters, Adler said, adding that summer students have not fallen victim to any serious crimes in recent memory. No organization she knows of has ever chosen not to come to Yale for security reasons, she said.

“If we weren’t convinced that we could run a program safe for high school kids at Yale, we just wouldn’t run it here,” Kelly said. “It really doesn’t matter how good the reputation of the school is.”

But that is not to say the University will approve just any program interested in Yale.

“You still have to be very careful to make sure it’s a good quality program and the students are properly supervised,” Salovey said.

Because of Yale’s urban surroundings and suite-style housing, the University only accepts students who are entering 10th grade and older, Adler said. Administrators also favor academic enrichment classes, community service and leadership programs for their compatibility with Yale’s mission, she added.

Still, Yale may not be able to afford to be too picky.

“There’s a $100 million shortfall,” University President Richard Levin said in an interview in December. “So we need money.”

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