The Cayuga Community College Board of Trustees voted on June 22 to approve the proposed $30.76 million 2011-12 budget, representing a 2.2 percent increase from last year’s budget.
The proposed budget calls for a 7.25 percent, or approximately $260 a year, increase in tuition. If the budget is approved by Cayuga County next month, the 2011-12 annual tuition will be $3,820 for full-time students, and the part-time rate will be $150 per credit.
The tuition increase reflects the impact of state funding cuts of nearly $2 million since 2009 on the College budget. Approximately 88 percent of the budget is non-discretionary, including such items as heating, electrical, water, insurance, rent, and employee salary and benefit contractual obligations.
“We take very seriously our responsibility to be good stewards of public resources, especially in this slow-growth economy,” said College President Daniel P. Larson. “We believe this budget is streamlined and effective in providing a high-quality, affordable education to the diverse students who attend Cayuga.”
The majority of full-time students attending Cayuga could absorb the tuition increases through financial aid and loans. Funds from the Tuition Assistance Program (TAP) would cover the increases for 75 percent of all Cayuga students currently receiving TAP awards, or approximately 1,425 out of 1,898 students. Federal Pell grants and loans are available to assist many of the remaining full-time and part-time students.
“Because the College’s governing boards did not raise tuition last year, we needed to make up the loss in revenue from continued cuts to our state funding,” Larson said. “If you spread the tuition increase over this year and last, it would be 3.625 percent, which sounds more reasonable. The unpredictable level of state funding from year to year is one of the driving reasons why SUNY Chancellor Nancy L. Zimpher sought legislative authority to implement a rational tuition policy. That bill, which state legislative leaders tentatively approved on June 21, provides SUNY four-year schools with a steady revenue stream and help families plan for incremental tuition increases.”
Despite the tuition increase, the College’s proposed budget follows the recommendation from SUNY community college presidents to limit the maximum tuition increase to $300 or less for the 2011-12 academic year.
Among the areas where the College has tightened its fiscal belt are new staff and faculty hires, flat budgets for managers, and requests for equipment, which were reduced 77 percent.
The proposed budget will be presented to the Cayuga County Legislature in July for approval.