At Edmonds Community College, it’s a difficult time in which we are serving more than 20,000 students annually (a 30 percent increase in the past three years) with fewer dollars and fewer people (a 22 percent drop in the state allocation and a loss of 40 staff positions since 2008, mostly through attrition).
While greater investment in higher education would be better for our community and our economy, we know that in the state’s current situation this is unlikely and the challenge of serving more students with less state dollars spent per student will continue.
Permanent Reductions in State Allocation
In deciding where to cut $6.4 million from our budget over the past two years, we’ve followed these principles:
- remember who we are and who we serve,
- minimize impact on student access and support,
- minimize impacts on employee base,
- ensure open communication and feedback,
- generate revenue as a first resort, and
- look at all funds.
What’s ahead for us: We’ve been asked to make an additional 10 percent cut to our state allocation for the 2011-13 biennium.
Student Enrollment Goes Up
State Spending per Student
|Fall quarter full time equivalent student enrollment data.|
To rise to the challenge and fulfill our mission, here is what we will do:
- continue to rely on our strengths as an innovative and entrepreneurial college,
- everything we can to generate revenue and keep from dropping programs and services,
- think differently and reexamine our business processes to realize additional efficiencies and savings, and
- continue to follow our budget reduction principles.
What we need from the state legislature: flexibility
- the authority to hire employees and make purchases as needed. The mandatory hiring freeze impedes our ability to best serve our students. Free us to fill necessary positions while working within our operating budget
- tuition setting authority.
- lowered enrollment targets. We are asking that our state targets be lowered commensurate with state allocation reductions to stem the erosion in spending per full time equivalent student. Since 2008, spending per student by the state has dropped from $4,426 to $3,607, a reduction of 18 percent.
- authority to generate revenue for our services as needed:
- ability to charge tuition for Running Start students. We receive approximately $900 per quarter for a Running Start student taking 9 credits; whereas we receive $2,500 per quarter for a resident student taking that same 9 credits. The ability to charge a percentage of tuition reduces the disparity in the cost of instruction.
- ability to raise fees for ABE/ESL and other students taking classes at a discount. In fiscal year 2010, Washington state community and technical colleges served 23,250 full time equivalent students in these programs at the cost of $50 million in lost tuition revenues.
- ability to eliminate mandatory waivers.
Our college supports 2011-13 operating budget requests from
the Washington State Board for Community and Technical Colleges
The State Board for Community and Technical Colleges (SBCTC) requests $90.7 million in the 2011-13 biennial budget for 8,100 full-time equivalent student enrollments. This funding will bring state funding into line with legislative enrollment targets and will begin to reverse the adverse impacts of three years of budget reductions on community and technical college programs and services.
Retain Worker Retraining funding
The SBCTC requests $35.1 million in the 2011-13 biennial budget for the Worker Retraining program. Unemployment rates are projected to remain at levels that will drive high enrollment demand in this program. The requested level of funding will maintain enrollment in the Worker Retraining program at the levels funded in the 2010 supplemental budget.
Restore Adult Basic Education
The SBCTC requests $31.2 million for Adult Basic Education (ABE) programs and services. While enrollments in other mission areas have increased, ABE – which serves the fastest growing part of our workforce – has lost ground as colleges have dealt with three consecutive years of state funding reductions.
According to the 2007 American Community Survey, about 570,000 adults in Washington state have not completed high school. In the best of economic times, this group has an unemployment rate six percent higher than adults who have a high school diploma1.