June 24, 2014
BENTON TOWNSHIP, MI – The Lake Michigan College Board of Trustees approved a balanced $31.5 million budget for 2014-2015 during its June meeting on Tuesday. Among the highlights, the budget allows the College to establish new training programs and avenues for student success.
Included is funding for the launch of the baccalaureate degree in Energy Production and Distribution that begins this fall, ongoing development of the new Viticulture and Enology program, renovations on the Napier Avenue Campus to create two active learning classrooms for business instruction as well an open computer lab in the library, and improvements to outdoor spaces around the new residence hall that will increase student engagement in campus life.
“Our commitment is to continually evolve what we offer to move our students and this community forward,” stated Harrison. “In what is a relatively flat budget compared to last year, we have found ways to adjust our operations to fit the changing needs of our region and while delivering fresh and relevant choices for students.”
The budget reflects a two percent decrease in revenue compared to the current fiscal year that ends June 30. Declines in anticipated tuition and fees will be partially offset by slight revenue increases in state appropriations of $185,000, improved operating income from auxiliaries, and a modest one percent increase in property taxes of $149,000.
According to Harrison, enrollment is settling back to pre-recession levels, a trend many Michigan community colleges are experiencing as the economy improves and people return to work.
“Our enrollment projection for recent high school graduates is very strong as more and more families see the economic wisdom of having their students begin their college career at Lake Michigan College,” stated Harrison. “Where we expect to see fewer students is among adult learners. We reached all-time record enrollments during the recession as displaced workers retooled their skills sets. Now people are finding jobs and committing their focus to their new employment opportunities.”
Harrison went on to add that the College expects to save on labor costs as the organization realigns to take advantage of recent retirements and delays hiring for open positions. The College will also remain flexible with its hiring of adjunct instructors to best fit changing enrollment needs.
In addition to new programs and services, the College continues to budget for routine capital expenditures that provide for systematic upgrades to computer and technology equipment, allow for facility repair and replacement projects, and modernize teaching and learning equipment that enhances the classroom experience for students.