Although the Honors Program is among the many departments at CSU set to sustain budgetary cuts for the 2011-12 school year, it may sustain fewer cuts compared to other academic programs.
â€œThe administration is aware of the value of the Honors Program to the university and usually keeps us high on the priority list,â€ said Honors Program Director Bob Keller said.
Over the past two years, 7.4 percent has already been reduced from its total budget, while the average for all other departments on campus is 11 percent, according to Jana Looney, assistant to the executive vice president of the Provostâ€™s Office.
Despite taking fewer cuts proportionally than other departments, however, the Honors Program still has to make difficult decisions.
According to Honors Program Assistant Director Diane Burton, the program has already lost one staff member because of cuts. If it loses more funding, she said, the only realistic solution would be to accept fewer students.
But the program has more students enrolled currently than ever before. With an estimated 350 incoming freshmen, the total for next school year would be brought to 1,300, the most since Williard O. Eddy founded the program in 1957.
Keller said that the plan is to keep the teacher/student ratio the same as it has always been, which has been an important feature of the program since it was founded and is a main attraction for students looking to be accepted.
â€œOur cap on freshman seminars is 19 to 20 students and if we have more that need to take it then we will add another period for it,â€ Burton said.
The absolute limit for class size in the Honors Program is 30. The only exception is Honors Life 102, which has always had a maximum of 48 students.
â€œWe have tried to maintain and strengthen the Honors Program at CSU,â€ said CSU Provost and Executive Vice President Rick Miranda.
No department is immune to budget cuts, Miranda said, but officials usually try to keep the Honors Program as untouched as possible.
â€œWe are very proud of our Honors Program. They have a great curriculum and we will continue to make it a priority when considering what cuts will go where,â€ Miranda said.
And for CSU freshman honors student Emily Horn, the Honors Program is especially important.
â€œI like the Honors Program and I know everyone else really likes being in it too. It would be a real shame if they had to cut students. Itâ€™s a great program to be a part of,â€ she said.
Staff writer Justin Rampy can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.