Van Zandt spoke about the university's new strategy to reduce its deficit.
Van Zandt spoke about the university’s new strategy to reduce its deficit.

President David Van Zandt and Provost Tim Marshall hosted the first town hall of the semester last week in Wollman Hall. Van Zandt addressed the university’s future vision along with its current issues, and allowed student and faculty representatives to open the forum.

Much of the town hall focused on the university’s finances. By the beginning of the next fiscal year in July, Van Zandt said he hopes to bring the New School’s $5.8 million deficit down to $4.8 million by consolidating spaces and campus locations, among other strategies.

He also addressed “melt applicants” – students who put down a deposit but do not end up enrolling. Twenty-four percent of accepted applicants do not end up attending Parsons or Lang, while the national average is just 12 percent. President Van Zandt hopes to lower that number to 13 percent by further engaging applicants and their families. This could create $3 million in revenue, the president said.

“We can reduce that melt,” Van Zandt said at the town hall. “It’s going to be very important to our finances.”

Van Zandt also introduced his new vision to make social research through design a key component of the university’s identity.

A new statement was drafted last November, and has since been revised based on community feedback. Van Zandt said the new statement is designed based on the school’s principles of innovation, and will connect disciplines across the university. He also explained how the university’s new program development has increased the student population by about 338 students and added to the university’s revenue.

Van Zandt also addressed the present state of the new University Center, reporting that the project is on schedule and on budget. The staff will host an opening this summer for the dorms on the upper levels, and a grand opening next February or March.

A general consolidation of The New School’s facilities is in its early stages. Van Zandt described a plan that will bring all New School buildings closer to its Greenwich Village location, with the University Center as the actual center of the campus. The consolidation process will move Mannes downtown for fiscal year 2015, or perhaps sooner, and the lease for the Williams Street dorms in the Financial District will not be renewed. Both the Mannes and William Street dorms are the school’s furthest buildings from the central campus.

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