In-district tuition stays the same in CMC draft budget
Colorado Mountain College’s draft budget for 2015-16 calls for a 2.5 percent cost of living salary increase and 18 percent uptick in nonresident tuition, but no new costs for in-district students.
The budget, which will go before the college’s trustees at their June 18-19 meeting, is available for public perusal at any CMC location or online at tinyurl.com/cmcbudget2015.
While some may find the minutiae a bit dry, chief operating officer Matt Gianneschi sees the document as fairly accessible.
“I think it’s sometimes mysterious to the public how colleges build budgets,” he said. “It’s actually a pretty straightforward look at revenues versus expenditures.”
This year, as board President Glenn Davis pointed out in a statement attached to the budget, that balance leans toward the positive.
“The largest source of revenue for the college comes from local property taxes. Due to increases in taxes, state funding and net tuition, this year’s revenue will be slightly higher than last year, which has allowed the college to preserve in-district associate’s level and all bachelor’s level tuition at FY2014-15 rates,” he wrote. “The Board of Trustees has directed the college to retain reserve funds to assist in hard economic times. This year, as was the case in FY2014-15, the budget is balanced without the use of reserves with the exception of the bachelor’s budget drawing modestly from a designated phase-in reserve, which was set aside by design.”
Besides the startup cost of the school’s five bachelor’s degree programs, the college saw a 6 percent increase in employee health insurance costs and the fiscal challenges of a service area that Gianneschi observed is “the size of Maryland if Maryland had mountain passes.”
“Running a multi-location college like this in a rural environment is more expensive than running a large, metropolitan single campus,” he explained.
Still, personnel remains by far the largest cost, accounting for 82 percent of the general fund budget.
On the income side, Gianneschi said, maintaining in-state tuition was a top priority.
“The board has made a decision to begin looking at a more appropriate tuition model for the different types of students at the college,” he said. “We wanted their tuition to match up with the actual expenditures, so that the local taxpayers aren’t subsidizing the nonlocal students.”
Whether the school will be able to hold that price point long-term depends on a variety of factors.
“We’re just now getting back to where we would have been prerecession,” said Linda English, vice president of fiscal affairs. “As we look into the future, we’re anticipating some increases in property values and some decreases in oil and gas.”
The school is doing its best to budget accordingly.
“Rather than being simply reactive to what the state or local economy does, we want to have a plan in place,” said Gianneschi.
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