444.1 Policy to Guide the Cancellation
of SST Units for Low Enrollment
On February 4, 1997, the international Education Committee moved to accept the policy indicated below. The process was initiated by a request for such a policy by Provost John Yordy, in the wake of the ad hoc decision to cancel the German SST for the summer term of 1997.
Goshen College cannot guarantee the operation of any given SST unit, and may occasionally need to cancel planned units due to low enrollments. The following procedures will serve as a flexible guide for the possible cancellations.
- If advance registration for a given SST unit falls below 9, that unit will normally be canceled.
- If between one year and six months before departure, advance registration drops below 12, students will be notified that enrollment levels place unit operation at risk, and that if registrations drop below 9, the unit maybe be canceled. Communication with the foreign language faculty needs to be part of the process before such notification of students.
- In the case of such a unit at risk, at approximately 6 months before departure (with some adjustment for summer months), students will be asked for a $300 non-refundable deposit to further test their commitment. If the unit is subsequently canceled, the deposit will be returned, with interest. Adjusted 6-month examples for deposit payments are March 1 for a September departure, May 10 for a January departure and November for a May departure.
- Flexibility will be maintained in the application of this policy. For example, the presence of three or more seniors in the unit who have no other reasonable SST option before graduation may be cause to operate a unit smaller than nine, and other “hardships” may be similarly considered.
- “Extra” units such as China or Indonesia will require higher enrollments than those indicated above and will normally be canceled if advance registration drops under 14 by the scheduled start of the special language course offered during the term before departure. These units already require non-refundable deposits.
- The final decision to cancel any unit will be made by the director of international education after consultation with the academic dean, the international education committee, and the provost.
Below are some basic facts and considerations that provided context for the above policy decision, and which should continue to inform any given decision.
- History. Over a period of 30 years we have sent nine units with ten or fewer students, only four units with eight or fewer. We do not have records that show whether there were units canceled for low enrollment prior to last summer’s German unit. The lowest numbers to be sent were 5 to Haiti in ’70, 7 to Belize in84, and 7 to Haiti in ’85.
- Size averages vs. individual instances. We must not “panic” over an occasional low-enrollment unit, as the average size is more important for both cost and long-range planning. For example, the last two times there were units of only 10, the average unit sizes for those years were 19.6 and 20, both higher averages than the 18.5 average in ’94-95 when the lowest single enrollment was 16, or the 17.8 average in ’91-92 when the lowest enrollment was 14. So we must weigh the unsettling loss of continuity caused by cancellations against the concern for the cost of a single unit if the overall average is solid.
- Basic cost. While there are many ways to “do the numbers,” the following is our best estimate. Assuming that overhead costs of both the SST office and the institution continue whether or not a given unit is canceled, the “break-even” point is about 12 students if we deduct 30% for student financial aid for the revenue side; and if we ignore this figure the break-even p9oint is about 8 students. These calculations are based on average figure for the “norm” locations of Costa Rica and Dominican Republic; surcharges make up the difference in other locations.
Director of International Education
for International Education Committee