At the April 12th monthly meeting, the Genesee Community College's Board of Trustees approved a $24,713,000 budget for the 2004-2005 fiscal year that begins September 1.Tuition under the new budget remains $1,450 per semester. Last year tuition was increased by $150 per semester. The budget must now be reviewed and approved by the Genesee County Legislature.

The 2004-2005 budget represents a hold-the-line spending plan in most non-mandated areas, according to President Stuart Steiner. The overall budget increase of 5.2% covers mandated costs, and a number of significant increases, as well as the addition of one new faculty position and one new full-time staff addition for a campus center.

Highlights of the 2004-2005 budget include:

•Continued funding for all existing academic programs.

•Tuition of $1,450 per semester for full-time students and $110 per credit hour for part-time students. College trustees asked that staff members do everything possible to keep tuition at or near the present rate, both to keep the College competitive and in recognition of the $150 per semester increase put into effect last year. "We are delighted to present a budget that holds tuition constant for next year and maintains high standards of accessibility for students," Dr. Steiner said.

•A $527,000 increase in state aid resulting from Genesee's growing enrollment. However, Genesee will lose approximately $350,000 in state aid because of new regulations that remove state funding from previously fundable courses, such as computer training for employees of business firms.

•A request for $50,000 in additional sponsor support, which would bring Genesee County's contribution to $1,786,374 - the second lowest sponsor contribution for any New York State community college. Genesee County would contribute a record low percentage of 7.3% of the College's budget during 2004-2005 if the Legislature approves the spending plan, down from 7.6% during 2003-2004.

•Mandated cost increases in several areas, including higher premium payments to Genesee County for health insurance for the county's self-insurance program ($523,000 additional next year); rising retirement premiums assessed by New York State ($309,000 additional next year), worker's compensation cost increases paid to Genesee County as part of the self-insurance program ($35,000 additional next year). Contractual salary increases will add $397,000 to next year's budget.

The 2004-2005 budget represents a sound, well thought-out plan for meeting college needs and is an investment, according to Dr. Steiner.

The most recent State University of New York figures indicate that the cost per student at Genesee is the lowest in the state. "We frequently tell students and families that Genesee Community College is an outstanding bargain," Dr. Steiner said. "We believe that Genesee also represents a great bargain to taxpayers. We have been able to deliver an outstanding education to students, and do so very economically."

The most recent economic impact statements show that Genesee has a $58 million impact on the local economy. "This represents money we bring in to the community, and that is spent and re-spent in the community," Dr. Steiner noted. "Every dollar invested in the College helps us continue the work we are doing, and helps maintain and grow the local economic infrastructure."

In other business this evening, the Board of Trustees:

•Heard that Genesee had received 1,454 applications from prospective full-time students as of March 31 for study this fall, up 9.8% from the 1,324 applications received a year ago that date. •Heard that Joanna Barefoot has been appointed Technical Assistant for Student Activities. Ms. Barefoot is a LeRoy resident and 2003 graduate of Messiah College in Pennsylvania.

•Heard that Barbara A. Shine, Director of Business and Employee Skills Training at Genesee since 2001, will join the faculty as Instructor of Business this fall. Prior to her arrival at Genesee, Ms. Shine worked in private industry for many years. She was Production Manager at Renaissance Plastics Co. in Amherst, and also held senior management positions at Fisher Price Co. She also served as Sales/Marketing and Business Manager for Dry Creek Products in Arcade. Ms. Shine holds a M.S. degree from Roberts Wesleyan College.

•Heard Vice President for Human Resources and Planning Larene Hoelcle report that Genesee has received a $5,000 grant from Cornell University's Institute of Community College Development to study student retention. The study will permit Genesee staff to identify the relationship between student satisfaction data and student persistence in college. Genesee project directors Dr. Julie Rao and Dr. Ruth Andes will partner with institutional researchers at Jamestown Community College and Suffolk County Community College, sharing survey data and results. "This study could yield important data on student success," Dr. Hoelcle said.