Office of the President
November 15, 2021

Dear William Paterson Faculty and Staff,

Now that the second and final Fall Census is behind us, I want to update you on some final numbers for the semester that illustrate both some positive developments as well as the continuing challenges for our budget. In terms of overall headcount, we’ve ended with 9,949 students, a 3.3 percent increase from Fall 2020 due to a 34.7% increase in graduate enrollment, mostly as a result of continued growth in WP Online, and 32.3% increase in part-time undergraduate enrollment. This is our first headcount increase in 11 years!  

To reiterate what I said in my October 27 email, the most important thing to keep in mind is that within that overall headcount figure is a 12.0 % decrease in full-time undergraduate enrollment, which is the University’s most significant source of revenue. WP Online remains profitable, and yet generates less revenue per student, and to the extent that growth in part-time undergraduates comes from a shift from the full-time population, WP Online cannot make up the revenue loss caused by the rapid decline in full time undergraduates. So, while we do have a great headcount story to tell, it is not having a similarly positive impact on revenues. We still have a structural balance that needs to be fixed, and we need to double down on our efforts to retain the 2,500 students we lose each year.

We need to focus on our budget and enrollment challenges, but we should never let them distract us from the great things our students, faculty, staff, alumni, and friends are doing across campus and throughout our local communities. Thank you to everyone who came out to The Tides Estate in North Haledon for last week’s Scholarship Dinner, which recognized the many donors who support William Paterson students. Hearing first-hand from the donors who support scholarships and especially the students who benefit from them is always inspiring and a powerful affirmation of the work we all do on behalf of our students. Thanks to Vice President Pam Ferguson and her entire Institutional Advancement team, in particular Director of Donor Relations Mariel Read Essner, for their good work in bringing back this event in person again.

This week’s WPWe are Proud – Congratulations to the students, faculty, and staff of William Paterson’s WPSC-FM (88.7), Brave New Radio, which was named Best College Radio Station of the Year at the 2021 Marconi Awards, which are presented by the National Association of Broadcasters. Dubbed “the Oscars of radio,” they are among the most prestigious awards in the industry. This year’s win adds to an already impressive list of awards for WPSC-FM, which in 2018 won the award for Noncommercial Radio Station of the Year, a category that included other college and NPR-affiliated stations. The station has also been named Best Radio Station in the Nation (among institutions with more than 10,000 students) by the Intercollegiate Broadcasting System four times since 2012. This year’s award is particularly special, as it recognizes the great work that students, faculty, and staff did to keep the station operating remotely and keeping the WP community entertained and informed during the pandemic. Again, congratulations to everyone affiliated with WPSC-FM on this well-deserved accolade!

Have a great week, everyone.

Richard J. Helldobler, Ph.D.
Office of the President | 973.720.2222 |