Director of Communications
Lisa Freiburger, the college’s vice president for finance and administration, said the purpose of a mid-year budget review is to make any necessary modifications to the budget to ensure that expenses align with revenue. Factors that drive the mid-year budget review include enrollment fluctuations that are more or less than what was originally projected.
“Given that the college experienced a greater enrollment decline during its winter 2014 semester meant that some modifications were necessary to align expenses and revenue,” she said. “However, it is important to note that given these challenges, the college has remained committed to student success.”
Areas of the budget in which modifications were made include a reduction in revenue and a reduction in budgeted health insurance costs because of the delay in implementation of portions of the Affordable Care Act, Freiburger added.
Looking to the future, college officials are reviewing and preparing the 2014-15 budget now, and it will be presented for approval during the May board of trustees meeting, Freiburger said. One component of the 2014-15 budget considered by trustees during the March 17 board meeting included approving a $3 increase for in-district tuition, bringing this rate to $106 per credit hour. Additionally, proportional increases were approved for out-of-district and out-of-state, job training and construction trades, and preschool rates.
The college also is thinking forward to its 2015-16 budget.
GRCC President Dr. Steven C. Ender noted that the college is taking a proactive approach to its budget discussions, giving consideration to a number of factors, including current trends of declining enrollment.
“At the community college level, enrollment fluctuations are inverse to the economy, which is why GRCC had an enrollment boom during Michigan’s recession,” he said. “The economy, while not completely recovered, is improving, so now we’re seeing enrollment declines.”
Ender pointed out that other factors also impact enrollment, including a decline in the number of high school students, a decline in grant funds tailored specifically around job training, and an increase in the number of people who are back to work.
“But GRCC is not alone,” he said. “Community colleges across the state are experiencing the same enrollment declines as we are here in West Michigan. We’re all keeping a careful eye on the future to create proactive solutions versus waiting and then having to be reactive.”
Grand Rapids Community College, established in 1914, offers opportunities for more than 30,000 students annually in degree courses, certification and training programs, workshops and personal enrichment classes. GRCC holds classes on the downtown Grand Rapids campus as well as several locations throughout Kent and Ottawa counties.