GRCC board discusses college budget

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Board of Trustee Vice Chairperson Deb Bailey (left), Treasurer Dr. Richard Stewart (middle left), Trustee Kenyatta L. Brame (middle right) and GRCC president Dr. Steven Ender (right) at the Board of Trustee meeting.

The current 2016-2017 budget for Grand Rapids Community College, as well as next year’s budget and expenses the college has were discussed at the Board of Trustees meeting on Monday, Feb. 13.

There will be an amendment made to adjust the budget for a recent increase in revenue.

“What we’re doing right now with the board is we’re bringing to them an amendment for the ‘16 to ‘17 budget that we’re currently operating under,” said Vice President for Finance and Administration Lisa Freiburger. “Our enrollment is better than we had originally budgeted. We budgeted fairly conservatively in our total billing units, which drives our revenue. They are up in our budget, so we are resetting tuition and revenue … We have more revenue primarily related to enrollment.”

Vice President for Finance and Administration, Lisa Freiburger, discussing the budget amendment at the Board of Trustee meeting.Avery Jennings - Sports Editor
Vice President for Finance and Administration, Lisa Freiburger, discussing the budget amendment at the Board of Trustee meeting.

Along with more revenue for enrollment, there will be other adjustments made including salaries for different faculty and staff.

“This includes salaries for people that have joined us and left us, with now new positions being created,” Freiburger said. “This could mean someone retiring and someone else coming in. This poses a potentially significant gap, so we’re resetting our salaries and our benefits.”

Along with the budget, enrollment numbers and tuition cost were discussed.

As of right now, the projected numbers for student enrollment will go down by four percent according to Dean of Institutional Research Donna Kragt.

“We run a series of enrollment projections with both multiple regression models and some other less technical models,” Kragt said. “We do an average of six different models and it’s fewer students coming out of the pipeline from the K-12 (schools), as well as the economy. The better the economy is in this area, the lower our enrollment. We’re not anticipating our economy to go south, so we’re going to see a decrease.”

Tuition is expected to increase by less than 2 percent.

“We are looking at a tuition increase of $2 on our general tuition, which is less than 2 percent,” Freiburger said.

This number may not be a lot, but Trustee Richard Stewart is already concerned with tuition increases with a decreasing student population.

Board of Trustee Vice Chairperson Deb Bailey (left) and Board of Trustee Treasurer Dr. Richard Stewart (right) at the Board of Trustee meeting.Avery Jennings - Sports Editor
Board of Trustee Vice Chairperson Deb Bailey (left) and Board of Trustee Treasurer Dr. Richard Stewart (right) at the Board of Trustee meeting.

“It’s no secret that philosophically that I have difficulty with tuition increase on a shrinking student population,” Stewart said. “I can’t sit here and propound a solution, but that is a big, tough question that we’ll need to take up in our future discussions.”

Building improvements, including the Ford Fieldhouse and Main Building, were the focus of structural improvements in the 2017-2018 budget.

“The fieldhouse is, certainly from a building condition, our highest priority,” Freiburger said. “The first floor of the Main Building, from an instructional perspective, is an area we would really like to redo to better serve our students … we would then like to work up the Main Building … We believe strongly that we need to modernize our educational spaces in this building.”

The next Board of Trustee meeting will be at 4:15 p.m. Monday, March 13, in the Board of Trustee Library on the fifth floor of Main Building.

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