Genesee Community College’s Board of Trustees voted to hold tuition at its present $1,700-per-semester level for the 2011-2012 year at its regular monthly meeting Monday evening. Under the 2011-2012 budget, tuition and fees will remain flat for the fourth year in a row – a record trustees believe is unmatched in recent years by any public or private college in New York State.
The $35.85 million budget also holds Genesee County’s contribution to $1.93 million, or 5.4% of the total budget, for the third year in a row. Genesee County is the sponsor of the College.
The budget must now be approved by the Genesee County Legislature. Trustees anticipate that the Legislature’s Ways and Means Committee will review the budget May 25, and expect that the Legislature will approve the budget June 8.
The 2011-2012 budget is “careful and cautious,” said President Stuart Steiner. The budget provides funding for the College’s newest degree programs, as well as resources to cover inflationary increases in areas such as increased health premiums, retirement rates, and contractual obligations, which largely account for the 4.1% increase over the current year’s $34.45 million budget.
Seven new full-time positions are included in the 2011-2012 budget plan. They include new faculty positions in Veterinary Technology and Polysomnographic Technology, as well as a temporary full-time faculty position in the College’s Teacher Education Transfer program. Also included is a Technical Specialist who will assist in the management of the art gallery and teach courses in the arts, two buildings and grounds staff members, and a Technical Specialist who will coordinate assessment activities to meet the growing accountability requirements of federal and state agencies, the Middle States Commission on Higher Education, and grantors.
The most pleasing part of the budget, according to Dr. Steiner, is the flat tuition and fee rates. Despite a 21% reduction in state aid over the last 2½ years, trustees were able to hold the line on tuition because of the College’s strong enrollment. Over the last several decades, Genesee has attracted a growing number of students from the Genesee-Livingston-Orleans-Wyoming area, as well as heavy numbers of students from outside the area and even from abroad. “Students are attracted to the great variety of programs we offer, as well as our very personalized approach to education,” Dr. Steiner said. “So while cutbacks in state aid have posed significant challenges for us, our reputation has brought us many new students and helped us maintain a healthy enrollment and healthy financial situation. We are pleased that we can share our success over the past few years with our students and with the county.”
Dr. Steiner also noted that the College has kept up high standards of preventive maintenance on the College’s facilities. “By repairing and refurbishing equipment and facilities on a regular basis, we save money over the long term,” he said. Dr. Steiner said he was pleased that new and replacement equipment deemed to be high priority by the College’s vice presidents was included in the budget.
The Board of Trustees set a high priority on maintaining tuition at the current level. “A big part of our mission is to make higher education accessible to all students, and in these economically challenging times, accessibility means affordability,” said Board Chair Charles R. Ruffino. Mr. Ruffino and other trustees noted that many colleges have sharply increased both tuition and fees in recent years, and that fees are not covered under New York State’s Tuition Assistance Program (TAP). “We wanted to be sure that students and families who face deep financial need or hardship not only have access to Genesee Community College, but can obtain the maximum possible financial aid for their education,” he said.
Tuition for part-time students, which is based on enrolled credit hours, will remain $140 per credit hour. Tuition for students who do not live in New York State will also be unchanged.
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