No tuition increase predicted for 2013-2014

On April 30, Vice President of Administrative Services Ray White presented a tentative form of the budget that will be presented to the Bellevue College Board of Trustees in May. As of the time of the meeting, the Washington State legislature has not reconciled their budget, so BC is moving forward with budget development using their best estimates.

The two major announcements made by White were first, the three percent salary cut for state employees will likely be restored, saving the school $900,000 and second; the school does not foresee a tuition hike and is not planning on a tuition increase in their budget.

A large portion of the budget is reliant on enrollment. Last year, there was a four and a half percent decline in enrollment, and this year BC expects a decline of two percent. While the decline in enrollment is expected to slow, if enrollment declines as expected, this will still cost the school $564,000.

While also presented a list of spending priorities for the school, compiled by the president’s office and the Office of Instruction. The top five ongoing priorities for the 2013-2014 budget are: Funding for a new position for the Office of Equity and Pluralism to increase the diversity of BC’s faculty recruitment pool; accommodations for the Disability Resource Center; a program manager for the Office of Equity and Pluralism; more funding to hire more financial aid staff; and funding to support BC’s emergency operations. In total, this tentative list will cost the school $1.7 million if approved by the Board of Trustees.

Priorities for one-time funds include health and safety operations; desktop computer replacements for faculty; more funding for emergency operations; and new instructional equipment. This will cost the school $1.6 million if approved by the Board of Trustees.

The money for both ongoing and one-time funding priorities will all come out of the college’s reserve funds, as Washington State funds only 27 percent of the college’s costs, and this number is not expected to rise. White said that while this debt is not ideal, it “sends a message to the legislature that we are not whole.”

White mentioned that he would like to see the budget revisited in October, when enrollment estimates are firmer, as fall quarter enrollment is a good indicator for winter and spring quarters.

The budget proposal will be sent to the Board of Trustees on May 8.