Genesee Community College 2009-2010 Budget Holds Tuition Flat

Genesee Community College’s Board of Trustees announced Monday evening that the College will not increase tuition during the 2009-2010 academic year. Under the 2009-2010 budget adopted that evening, tuition for full-time students will remain $1,700 per semester. Part-time students will continue to pay $140 per credit hour. The Board met at the Batavia Campus for its regular monthly meeting.

The $32.6 million spending plan will now be submitted to the Genesee County Legislature for approval. Genesee County is the College’s sponsor.

Trustees wanted to keep college costs to students and parents as low as possible during these economically challenging times, according to Board of Trustees Chair Laurie J. Miller.

The 2009-2010 budget includes the cost of opening of a new campus center in Lima this fall, as well as relocating the College’s recently-expanded School of Nursing to the new Med Tech Park slated for construction on the south side of Hawley Drive across from the Batavia Campus. The College expanded its nursing program from 72 incoming students to 120 incoming students last year, and now offers the full range of nursing courses during the fall and spring semesters. The relocated nursing facility will also accommodate the College’s growing LPN-to-RN program, which allows licensed practical nurses to complete the course of study necessary for a nursing degree and registered nurse status.

Most of the $1.8 million in additional costs in the new budget is due to significant increases in the costs of energy, general insurance, health insurance, telecommunications, state-mandated increases in faculty and staff retirement contributions, and ordinary salary and wage adjustments. Despite the College’s record-breaking enrollment during the 2008-2009 year, the budget calls for a net increase of only one faculty position – the Board added four new positions and eliminated three positions as the result of retirements and discontinued programs. The College is moving a half-time admissions counselor to full-time status to help serve the rapidly growing number of applicants, President Stuart Steiner said. The College is also planning to add a career coach who can help students in area high schools with educational and job planning. The College posted record enrollment of 6,672 during this year’s fall census. Another record-breaking spike is possible this fall, Dr. Steiner said.

At the request of the Student Government Association, trustees voted to increase the student activity fee by $14 per semester for full-time students, to $118, and $7 per semester for part-time students, to $22. Student fees cover the cost of student clubs and organizations, out-of-class activities, and bus service between the Batavia Campus and bus stops throughout the Batavia area.

The budget also includes a request to Genesee County to increase the County’s college appropriation by $50,000, to $1,936,374. Even with the adoption of this increase, Genesee County would still have the second-lowest level of community college sponsor support in the entire State University of New York.

Dr. Steiner called the 2009-2010 budget “thoughtful and prudent.” “We are maintaining our longstanding record of fiscally conservative spending, while protecting the academic programs that have boosted our reputation across the United States.” Dr. Steiner noted that Genesee’s cost per student, of just over $7,100, is among the lowest in the SUNY system and about 20% below the SUNY average.

The current recession ironically helped the Board of Trustees meet its flat-tuition goal. A growing number of students are seeking affordable college education, and these students bring added tuition revenue to the College, Dr. Steiner noted. Also, despite worries that state aid to community colleges might be cut this year, the State Legislature and Governor decided to use federal economic stimulus money to maintain state funding at current levels. “Every budget we develop is a challenge, but overall we are pleased with the outcome of our budget preparation this year,” Dr. Steiner said.

In other business Monday evening, the Board of Trustees:
  • Promoted six members of the faculty: Kathleen A. Kimber, from Associate Professor of Spanish, to Professor of Spanish; Christine Belongia, Assistant Professor of Teacher Education, to Associate Professor of Teacher Education; Michelle D. Abdella, Instructor of Mathematics, to Assistant Professor of Mathematics; Elise C. Banfield, Instructor of Psychology, to Assistant Professor of Psychology; Cheryl A. Corke, Instructor of Accounting, to Assistant Professor of Accounting; and Patricia J. Kendall-Cargill, Instructor of Nursing, to Assistant Professor of Nursing.
  • Authorized President Stuart Steiner to negotiate and execute a new three-year contract with AVI Foodsystems, Inc. to operate the College’s food service and vending operations, upon the recommendation of an ad-hoc Food Service Committee. AVI currently provides these services, and the company’s current contract expires June 30. Under the new contract, AVI Foodsystems has committed $108,000 in capital improvements to the kitchen and cafeteria area.
  • Authorized President Steiner to negotiate and execute a new five-year contract with SunGard Higher Education Managed Services, Inc. to provide technology services to the College. The current SunGard contract expires August 31. SunGard has been the College’s technology partner since 1979, and manages the College’s computer and telecommunications infrastructure. The new $1.75 million annual contract will add computer help desk support for all students, and expand the help desk to a 24/7 operation. This will result in considerable savings to the College, while providing more services to students, Dr. Steiner said.
  • Approved a “Negative Declaration” for the upcoming athletic fields and gymnasium capital projects. The “Negative Declaration,” made under the State Environmental Quality Review Act, reflects the Board’s conclusion that the projects will have no significant effect on the environment and no major adverse impact on the environment.
  • Heard Board Chair Laurie J. Miller appoint a three-person Nominating Committee to recommend board officers for the 2009-2010 year. Appointed to the Nominating Committee were Melvin J. Wentland, Glenn R. Morton, and Marcia H. Noonan. Board officers will be elected at the Board’s annual meeting in July.
  • Presented “Certificates of Completion” to eight students from earthquake-ravaged Sichuan Province of China, recognizing the year they spent at Genesee. The eight students were among the “China 150” group invited by the State University of New York to attend a year of college at SUNY campuses. All of the students will continue their studies in China, and have made public service commitments to help rebuild their communities. Professor of English Charley Boyd and Director of Human Services Programs Connie Boyd, who spent much time with the Chinese students over the last year, showed video clips of the students to the Board.
  • Heard President Stuart Steiner report that James Goodwin has been appointed Director of Curriculum and Review. Mr. Goodwin has served as Instructor of Mathematics and Chemistry since 2006. Mr. Goodwin has been developing curricula for a new Veterinary Technology Program the College hopes to establish in the next several years. He is a native of Australia. Dr. Steiner also noted that Yolonda Johnson will join the staff as Project Coordinator of the Finger Lakes WIRED grant program. She has been a training specialist with the Catholic Youth Organization, a probation assistant with the Monroe County Probation and Corrections Department, and a department director for the Advocacy Center in Rochester. She has also been a member of Rochester Institute of Technology’s adjunct faculty. She holds an A.S. degree from Monroe Community College, and B.A. and M.P.A. degrees from SUNY College at Brockport.
  • Heard Vice President for Student and Enrollment Services Dr. Virginia M. Taylor report that 2,680 individuals have applied to Genesee for admission as full-time students during the fall 2009 semester as of May 5, up 10.2% from the 2,430 individuals who had applied one year ago. Two hundred thirty nine individuals had applied for admission as part-time students, up 5.6% from the 226 individuals who had applied a year ago. President Stuart Steiner said that the summer semester and fall semester enrollment will probably once again break records. Summer course registrations are running 8 ½% over last year’s registrations, while fall registrations are running 11 ½ percent over last year’s.