At the end of each year, the BC president presents the proposed college budget to the board of trustees, who then adopt or reject the annual budget for the upcoming year. In previous years, administrations have had to make major budget cuts in order to make do with decreasing revenue being generated from tuition rates and fees. This trend has ended with the administration presenting a budget that proposes an increased or stable budget for virtually every organization on campus.
Part of the reason for the lack of budget cuts this year is the increased revenue the college has been able to generate. In 2008, when the Great Recession hit in earnest, the college began to see a decrease in revenue earned from tuition rates, which impacted spending across the college as a whole. This situation reached a breaking point in 2011 when the then college administration proposed salary cuts for faculty members. However, over time, enrollment rates at the college increased to the point where sweeping budget cuts are no longer necessary. The situation today is far different from the past because, in this year’s budget, faculty members will be getting a 1.7% pay increase.
For the past few years, it seemed as though the college was in a slump, with a budget deficit seeming inevitable from last year’s projections. Last year, it was estimated that the college would owe 3.4 million dollars in loans to fund its programs this year. This would have resulted in trickle-down budget cuts affecting programs and clubs such as the MUN club, DECA and others. This budget deficit could have even resulted in class cuts, historically aimed at racial equity and restorative justice courses. What has partially staved off any future budget cuts and provided increased security for these clubs and courses is the increased enrollment of students into bachelor’s degree programs at the college. Those studying courses at the bachelor’s level pay tens of thousands of dollars to do so and are thus a money-making machine for revenue at the college. A 10% increase in this year’s BAS enrollment has guaranteed a strong line of funding for the college budget.
Funding that directly affects students has, for the most part, faced no overall cuts. The student affairs office, which funds student clubs and organizations, faced minimal cuts. The only cuts made in this area in the overall college budget were aimed at part-time hourly pay, but this did not reduce funding for the ASG. The ASG is responsible for allocating funds for different student clubs and programs and decides how much funding each of these organizations receives.
Although that is not to say that no programs have gone through threats of being cut out of this year’s budget. A popular parent education program that helps new parents learn how to raise their young children faced being removed entirely. This removal sparked protest from the local community, with over 800 people protesting the measure online. The administration claimed that cutting the program was a clerical error in calculating program effectiveness, and the program now only faces a 3% budget cut in the proposed budget. However, in a statement to K5 news, president Locke said that the program was being internally challenged due to the 600,000 dollar deficit it runs each year.
Additionally, the S&A budget committee made a few budget cuts on a smaller scale, mainly to art organizations on campus. The editor in chief of Belletrist, the BC literary journal, said that they were provided with no funding for the upcoming year in a previous interview. The instrumental music coordinator also complained that the S&A Committee entirely rejected the $42,000 budget that they requested for the upcoming year. But in this case, Micheal Kaptik said he would “personally intervene on their behalf.” Both of these organizations feel as though the S&A committee has made it increasingly difficult for arts organizations to receive funding and hope to pursue other methods of getting money to operate.
Overall, the college budget has increased and has resulted in maintenance or an increase in budgeting for essential parts of campus, such as the faculty pay increase. On a smaller scale, the S&A committee cut funding for multiple programs, but this is not indicative of the budgetary position of the entire college. Over time, the president’s office expects increased funding that will go to other campus sectors.