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story.lead_photo.caption In this Feb. 3, 2016 file photo, Lincoln University student Demarco Robinson, left, and Quaylan Jackson walk up the circular stairs overlooking the first floor stacks as they make their way to the third floor archives room inside the Inman E. Page Library on the Jefferson City campus. Photo by News Tribune / News Tribune.

Lincoln University is facing declines in its student enrollment, credit hour registration and incoming freshmen.

Marcus Chanay, LU's vice president for student affairs, informed the university's Board of Curators on Monday that Lincoln's current summer enrollment is down 42 percent from last year — at 192 students, compared to 333 in 2019.

For the upcoming fall semester, 510 students have enrolled so far — down 25 percent from last year's 676 at this time, Chanay said.

There's still a lot of uncertainty for colleges and universities across the country about what fall may look like.

Lincoln President Jerald Jones Woolfolk said the university still plans to have an in-person graduation ceremony in August for the class of 2020, "provided things are safer."

Chanay said the goal this year was to have 550 incoming freshmen, but as of Monday, 300 had given their "intent to enroll." He noted 2,855 incoming freshmen had been accepted.

Registered credit hours for the summer session are so far down 44 percent, and credit hours for the fall are down by 27 percent, Chanay said.

The university is also doing its orientation virtually due to the COVID-19 pandemic, he said.

A virtual tour of the university is being filmed and should be completed in the next few weeks, Chanay said of a recruiting effort.

The university is also working with a marketing firm to film a series of videos for social media, LU spokeswoman Misty Young said.

With Lincoln's revenue primarily dependent on state appropriations and tuition and fees — both of which are in flux because of the pandemic and economic crisis it's spurred — Sandy Koetting, LU's vice president for administration and finance, said "we may not know where we're going to land until June," in terms of next year's budget.

The Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security Act, or CARES Act, made approximately $1.3 million available to Lincoln for the purposes of emergency grants to students, Koetting said.

She said the university now has access to that funding and anticipated information to be available this week on how students can request aid.

A further $1.3 million from the CARES Act should cover the university's expenses this spring from refunding room and board charges to students, she said.

The approximately $3.4 million LU will receive as part of a broader CARES Act aid package for historically black colleges and universities could be used for lost revenue, reimbursement of incurred expenses, technology costs with the school's transition to remote learning, staff training or payroll, Koetting said.

It's not yet clear how Missouri Gov. Mike Parson may allocate approximately $56 million appropriated to him as part of a Governor's Emergency Education Relief fund — though it's clear administrators' hope is that Parson will use the funding to restore state budget cuts made to higher education.

Lincoln Chief of Staff Carlos Graham said "there will be an ask out there" for the university to receive additional funding.

In the meantime, with approximately $1.4 million withheld in the current year's state budget from LU, Koetting said all hirings and even the smallest purchases must be approved through Woolfolk's office because of the university's freezes on hiring and spending.

Koetting also said it's likely the university dips into $500,000 of its fund balance, as was already anticipated in the budget.

"We hope that we don't dip any further," she said.

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