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Delta State University announces plan to ensure fiscal sustainability

By May 13, 2024President

CLEVELAND, Miss. — In a memo dated May 13, Delta State University President Dr. Daniel J. Ennis shared the restructuring plan for the university’s FY25 budget with the DSU campus community. The plan is the culmination of nearly a year of discussion, analysis, and deliberation among campus constituency groups.

The changes will be implemented pending approval by the Mississippi Institutions of Higher Learning (IHL) and the university’s accrediting body. The memo outlined the strategic changes that will be undertaken to begin the process of establishing a stronger and more viable institution. Measures include cutting more than $6.1 million from the FY25 budget, with an additional $1.5 million in savings to be realized by the end of FY27.

Ennis said, “In order to fortify Delta State University as a stronger institution poised for future success, I have made the difficult decision to implement budget cuts, program reductions, and service changes aimed at addressing the university’s challenges. These measures are necessary for the greater good of DSU’s sustainability and long-term viability.”

In recent years, DSU has been faced with an imbalance between spending and revenue, primarily attributed to declines in enrollment. Despite unwavering dedication to its academic mission, the university has recognized the pressing need to realign its resources to better reflect current demands and ensure a sustainable path forward.

As part of this strategic initiative, DSU will discontinue several programs that have consistently experienced low enrollment, with half enrolling fewer than 10 students. These changes will consolidate 21 majors with low enrollments into four new degree programs to better serve students. This will result in fewer classes cancelled due to low enrollment, increased degree productivity, and streamlined curriculum that will ensure students have the opportunity to combine areas of study in new and innovative configurations.

The College of Arts and Sciences and the Graduate and Honors Studies unit are being deleted, and the associated programs and services will be restructured into the remaining three colleges. Anticipated new degree programs will ensure that students are still able to pursue the Liberal Arts, and the end result will allow the university to put additional funding and resources into remaining academic programs to bolster their probability of being more viable, prosperous, and successful.

Ennis said, “While the impact of some of these decisions will negatively impact friends and colleagues within the DSU community and is regrettable, we must prioritize the long-term health and vitality of the institution. By eliminating smaller programs, we can better support those with higher enrollment, ultimately enhancing the overall academic experience for our students.”

For students impacted by program closures, DSU will provide a plan to ensure a smooth transition and minimize disruption to their academic pursuits. Plans will ensure that students who came to Delta State with particular academic program goals in mind will still be able to achieve those goals. These academic changes will affect only 8% of Delta State’s student body, and those students whose majors are being discontinued will be supported in various ways to ensure that they graduate on time. Individualized academic plans will be developed by advisors, so that no student will be required to take unnecessary courses or incur extra expenses.

Employees in the university’s Student Success Center will contact affected students in the coming weeks and assist them with navigating these changes and will ensure that no student loses any progress toward graduation.

Of note to the greater Cleveland and Bolivar County community, Delta State is evaluating ways to continue operating the Child Development Center in the face of losing more than $250,000 each year for the last three years. To assist in this effort, Ennis will appoint an Ad Hoc Committee composed of campus officials, parents of children enrolled in the Center, and other stakeholders to meet this summer and fall to evaluate the financial situation and determine if its financially sustainable.

Ennis said that Delta State remains resolute in its mission to deliver a high-quality education and remains confident that these strategic measures will pave the way for a brighter tomorrow.

“We need the support of our community and alumni now more than ever as we navigate these changes,” he said. “While challenging, these adjustments are critical for positioning DSU for a prosperous future that honors our storied past. DSU is steadfast in its commitment to preserving its legacy and ensuring its continued presence in the educational landscape. By building upon its strengths and focusing resources on key areas, DSU aims to bolster its position as a beacon of academic excellence and innovation.”

Ennis’ memo to the campus is available on the Delta State University President’s website at