The Northwest State Community College budget for the 2013-14 fiscal year is up just .04% (four one-hundredths) of one percent from the previous year
The college board of trustees approved a budget of more than $22 million at its Friday, June 7 meeting.
Michelle O’Dell, director of public relations and marketing, said the budget for the current fiscal year, 2012-13, was $22,421,444.
For the 2013-14 fiscal year, (July 1, 2013 through June 30, 2014), the NSCC budget is $22,430,924, a difference of $9,480.
O’Dell said the cost of health care coverage for employees increased 10%, but the college was able to make enough adjustments in other areas to hold down the overall increase.
Mari Yoder, vice president of institutional advancement, said the small increase is the result of overall belt-tightening at the college as enrollments sag.
Staff has been reduced through attrition, and travel to conventions and conferences has been reduced significantly.
She said in the last contract between the college and the faculty, the faculty agreed to no raises.
Across the state, enrollment at community colleges and four-year universities is declining.
Yoder said enrollment at NSCC is down for the summer. While it’s too early for accurate estimates, NSCC is predicting the fall enrollment will be flat–on par with last fall.
She cited a couple of reasons for the decline.
First, she noted that high school enrollment, a source of students for NSCC, is in the midst of a three-to-fouryear dip.
Also, as the economy has picked up, more and more people are returning to work.
“During our peak (enrollment), unemployment was at its highest,” said Yoder.
“Some may have completed their training and gone back to work. Others may be taking one class instead of three.
“We’ve got to get the message out that you may be employed now, but to stay employed, or move up in the workplace, you need more education.”
Universities, she said, are looking to foreign students as a way to bolster enrollment.
“That’s not doable for community colleges, because we don’t have the housing,” she said.
“But we are looking for ways to promote education.”
During the meeting, the board also voted to eliminate the school application fee.
O’Dell said for years, the college charged a $20 fee when a student applied to NSCC.
She said the college voted to stop charging the fee so it would not be a barrier to anyone who wants to attend the college.
During the meeting, the college received a check for $354,900 from the NSCC Foundation.
The money is designated for scholarships and equipment.
Robbin Wilcox, NSCC director of development and director of the foundation, said, “The Foundation works diligently with local community members and businesses to raise funds for various projects at Northwest State.
“We are proud to make this presentation to the college and are confident that the scholarships and equipment made possible by this money will make a positive impact on students’ lives.”– David Pugh