LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (AP) — (10/16/19) The University of Arkansas at Monticello said its chancellor will resign at the end of the semester as the school faces a budget deficit amid a large drop in student enrollment.
Karla Hughes will resign on Dec. 31 after three years leading the school, officials announced Monday. She is the first woman to lead a four-year University of Arkansas System school, the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette reported.
UA System President Donald Bobbitt and Hughes made the decision that she should resign.
“Dr. Bobbitt and I discussed the challenges, both internal and external, that UAM has faced during my tenure, and we both felt the best step forward for the university was that I resign as chancellor,” Hughes said in the release.
Gregg Reep, who chairs the school’s board of visitors, says the administration told the board that it expects there to be a $1 million to $2 million budget shortfall.
Hughes took over as chancellor in January 2016 and enrollment has steadily dropped under her watch, from about 3,900 that year to 2,855 this semester.
The drop is largely due to the university cutting ties with its online provider of concurrent courses for high school students after 2017, although there has been an increase in concurrent enrollment at the state and national levels.
The university had 1,000 high schools concurrently enrolled students in 2017, and now there are 400 students enrolled this fall.
“There’s no question that there are many challenges ahead facing the campus to help meet its unique regional and economic needs and finding the right leadership for the institution will be a top priority moving forward,” Bobbitt said.
While some other public universities in the state have unconditional admissions based on grade-point average and ACT scores, UAM is the state’s only public university that admits any student who has a high school diploma or general education diploma.