The mid-year budget for Grand Rapids Community College was approved unanimously at Monday’s board meeting, Feb. 15.
The budget report summarized losses and gains so far this year, as well as a prediction for the next fiscal year, including a possible tuition increase that administrators project to be 2 percent or less.
GRCC Vice President of Finance and Administration Lisa Freiburger said the rise would add approximately $2.16 to each credit hour.
“We’re still working on lots of components of this budget,” Freiburger said. “We take tuition to the board earlier than the full budget so that students are prepared and that most importantly our financial aid office can begin working on packaging aid for students. The earlier they have actual tuition numbers, the more quickly they’re able to provide real data for students on financial aid packages.”
Due to this semester’s decline in enrollment, GRCC is seeing a $670,000 loss in tuition and fee revenue. Another decline was seen in course, records and technology fee revenue.
The previous budget was created with enrollment estimated to decline 5 percent, when it actually declined by 7 percent. The numbers totaled at 14,160 students this semester.
The drops in the budget were met by a slight loss of in-resident tuition, but were balanced by the out-of-district and out-of-state tuition numbers, which are higher in cost and didn’t decline at the same percentage.
GRCC also saw a 30 percent increase in dual-enrollment for 2014-15 and trade/construction jobs stayed in line with enrollment numbers.
The final 2015 property values were expected to increase by 2 percent in the previous budget, but ended up rising by 3.1 percent, or $870,000. The total property tax revenue in the general fund is approximately $29.7 million, according to Freiburger.
Adjunct and overload average salary per contact hours have been adjusted for lower enrollment.
“As enrollment declines, the number of sections that are needed sometimes declines,” Freiburger said.
Third shift custodial positions at College Park Plaza and Tassell M-TEC have been eliminated and an outside company has been hired to maintain these facilities.
Concluding the report, the total revenue was finalized at $108,506,240, with total expenditures and transfers at $108,434,042.
Freiburger looked to the future with the 2016-17 Budget Development Report. The report forecasted enrollment to decline around 6 percent for 2016-17, tuition to increase less than 2 percent, property taxes to increase around 3 percent and state funding to increase by 2 percent, based on Governor Snyder’s most recent budget proposal.
GRCC is expecting to see a reduction in employee positions with the Voluntary Early Separation Plans (VESP).
“It’s really safe for the board to assume that we will not be filling all positions that are coming open through the VESP retirement,” GRCC President Steven Ender said in the meeting. “We just can’t get there without, again, looking at core expenses.”
A salary increase of 2 percent is expected, based on the rise of minimum wage for student employees, as well as a health insurance increase by 2.5 percent, or $177,500 to a total budgeted $7,100,000.
Freiburger said funding is being prioritized to maintain and possibly expand the GRCC College Success Center and Fast Track program, whose grant funding ends in September.
“We’re seeing some bright success with those (programs),” Freiburger said to the board. “We would like to be able to prioritize continuing those in some fashion.”
Costs will also be factored in for mandatory student orientation, which Freiburger described as a “proven successful measure.”