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If you were unable to attend President Hurley’s Town Hall meeting on Thursday, October 12, you can read the recap below.

President Hurley provided an update regarding the Excelsior Scholarship Program noting that there was no question that it had an impact on the college’s enrollment.  Of the more than 75,000 applicants, he reported that 22,000 students received scholarships, including 299 to ECC, 488 to Buffalo State, 517 to Geneseo, 553 to Fredonia and 1,571 to UB.  Another 23,000 students have their tuition covered by TAP and Pell.

The president summarized his recent meeting with Rep. Chris Collins during which he discussed protection of federal student aid programs like PELL and SEOG, regulation of higher education by the federal government and DACA reform.  President Hurley reiterated the college’s support for the protection of Dreamers, the nearly 800,000 foreign born young people who are currently residing in the U.S. under the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program.

He noted that as part of larger community advocacy efforts, October 16-20 has been designated as Protect Dreamers Higher Education week and encouraged the Canisius community to contact members of Congress and engage in advocacy activities that celebrate the accomplishments and contributions of Dreamers on college and university campuses, inform our communities about the issues, and let our political leaders know where we stand.

President Hurley praised everyone who worked to successfully announce Excellence Within Reach. President Hurley noted that everywhere he goes in the city people are talking about the tuition reduction initiative.  Many, he said, have seen the TV commercial, which he played for the group.  He also shared some analytics noting that the Excellence Within Reach video was viewed more than 7,500 times in the first few days following the announcement.  In addition, there was a 52 percent increase in traffic to the website and traffic from social media was up an amazing 572 percent!

President Hurley admitted the hard work of recruiting the freshman class is still ahead.

He finished the Town Hall by reviewing the faculty and staff engagement items being instituted as a result of the work of the engagement teams, including recognition and appreciation initiatives and increased communication.

In response to a question submitted about the status of the 403(b) retirement plan reduction and concern for the time frame of this adjustment, President Hurley acknowledged that it was originally presented to the Board of Trustees as a one year adjustment. But at a special meeting in June, the Board did not feel comfortable that it could commit to that timeline.  As such, the Board moved to temporarily suspend the 8 percent contribution to the employee retirement plan and reduce it to 4 percent for FY 2018 and prioritize the restoration of the contribution as circumstances allow.  President Hurley said this is a top priority as we develop and monitor the annual operating budget.  He has asked the college Budget Committee to address this issue specifically with every draft budget that is prepared.

Submitted by: College Communications