BATAVIA, NY – Full-time Genesee Community College students will pay $1,975 tuition per semester during the 2016-2017 year, under the budget approved by the GCC Board of Trustees Monday evening, up $25 from the current $1,950 tuition rate.
Trustees also approved the 2016-2017 operating budget totaling $40.537 million, up 1.53% from the current year’s $39.927 million budget. The net increase in the budget, however, is much less. Nearly half of the increase simply reflects an accounting change that creates $275,000 in non-cash revenue and non-cash expense.
The 2016-2017 budget is a maintenance-of-effort budget, according to President James M. Sunser.
Staffing levels for 2016-2017 are nearly identical to current year staffing. The budget, however, provides for a student success position responsible for the organization and leadership of success coaching initiatives in the Student Success Center opening in the Fall 2017 semester. Key non-classroom student services will be consolidated in the new Center, and “success coaches” based in the Center will guide students through their academic careers. College leaders believe that the success coaching initiative will help boost students’ academic success and career potential.
On the revenue side of the budget, the College will receive $100 more in partially-restored New York State aid per full-time equivalent student. The increase is welcome, said Dr. Sunser, but state aid still lags behind historical levels.
The College’s new Nanotechnology program, offered in collaboration with Erie Community College, will be in full swing next year. The College also hopes to launch more educational programs geared toward the needs of the local agriculture industry.
The 2016-2017 academic year will see the construction of two new buildings on the Batavia Campus. The 18,748 square foot Student Success Center will be located adjacent to the Conable Technology Building. The 56,614 square foot Richard C. Call Arena will be located at the northwest end of the parking lot. The Arena will house the largest expanse of flexible, open floor space in the Genesee-Livingston-Orleans-Wyoming County region.
The College anticipates that both buildings will be completed in early summer 2017.
As in recent years, the budget process was challenging, Dr. Sunser told trustees. But the College’s history of conservative spending, healthy enrollment, and relatively low inflation helped make a balanced budget possible for 2016-2017.
The budget now goes to the Genesee County Legislature’s Ways and Means Committee, which will review the spending plan before presenting it to the full Legislature.
Dr. Sunser noted that declining numbers of high school graduates have led to enrollment declines among younger students at many colleges, while a robust economy has led many older students to remain in the workforce rather than seek retraining. “Many community colleges across New York State and across the nation have experienced significant enrollment declines,” Dr. Sunser said. “At Genesee, we have experienced a slight dip in the number of students, but our enrollment remains very strong, and our financial position very stable.”
Dr. Sunser called the early part of the 21st Century “the era of the community college.” He reminded trustees that business, political and educational leaders are all praising community colleges. “Business leaders know that we provide a very rigorous education and prepare students quite well for the local workforce,” he said. “On the national level, the last three presidents of the United States have spoken very positively and forcefully about the value and importance of a community college education. But most significantly, our own GCC students spread the word about the education we provide, and our 24,000 alumni are living examples of the value that GCC brings to our local communities.”
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