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September 14, 2013

 

TC3 deals with budget cuts

Lower fall enrollment forces college to trim about $750,000

By MATT LEADER
Staff Reporter
mleader@cortlandstandardnews.net

DRYDEN — A projected 5 percent decrease in total enrollment for the fall semester has forced the college to find $750,000 in savings to make up the lost revenue.
The reduction comes in spite of a 3 percent increase in funding from Tompkins and Cortland counties, which are contributing $4.4 million to the college’s approximately $38 million 2013-14 budget.
Haynes said the college has already made about $670,000 worth of budget reductions utilizing a variety of methods, including consolidating and cutting low-enrollment classes, decreasing its number of adjunct faculty and cutting department and equipment costs.
The college is considering different options to make up the $80,000 difference.
“We have begun the process and will be looking at things as the year goes on,” said TC3 Vice President and Provost John Conners, who will be meeting with individual chairs throughout the semester to determine upcoming action for low-enrollment classes and programs. “We really need to look at how we can proceed more efficiently.”
Hayes said he expects enrollment to rebound somewhat in the spring semester.
“That will help offset things to some extent,” said Haynes, who credited the college’s student retention efforts, which have increased retention rates over 2012-13.
The college is still compiling fall enrollment numbers and expects a final figure next week.
Conners said that the college is considering cutting low-enrollment programs. Although it takes three years for a program to be discontinued, he said it is necessary to start considering longer-term options.
“The decline has lasted two years,” Conners said. “We must consider the likelihood that the decline is caused by structural as well as cyclical forces.”
“Long term, we’re looking at all of our programs for consolidation,” said Haynes, who also noted that the possibility of offering retirement incentives to tenured faculty is also on the table.
“We know anecdotally there is some interest in that,” he said.
In addition to cutting expenditures, TC3 is also looking to expand revenue with new offerings.
The college’s upcoming farm-to-bistro program will add two new degree programs in sustainable farming and food systems and culinary arts to its stable of 40 currently listed on its website.
Haynes and Conners also called attention to the college’s expanding global initiative program, citing a current international program between Brazil and the United States that brought 12 students to TC3 this semester for courses in English.
TC3’s international student population has grown by over 72 percent since 2000.

 

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