‘Open and transparent’ budget
November 11, 2005
Filed under Archives
Thinking about Guilford’s budget is probably not the first thing on a student’s mind. But every year, every college has to make budget decisions that can affect students. State colleges and universities are often required to publish their budgets. Colleges usually publish these anyway, but do not include students in the initial decision-making process. Guilford’s Budget Committee is made up of faculty, staff, and student representatives.
Heather Hayton, Chair of the Budget Committee and Assistant Professor of English, describes Guilford’s budgeting method as “the most open and transparent budgeting process I’ve ever seen.”
She was a co-chair of the committee at California State University during a time when the state budget forced the college to take enormous cuts in their own budget. The resulting cuts reduced faculty salary and drastically increased tuition for students.
President Kent Chabotar spoke about the relationship between the Strategic Long Range Plan (SLRP) and his main priorities for the budget this year. Those included maintaining a high amount of financial aid, a high student-to-teacher ratio, and not spending more than 5 percent of the college’s endowment each year.
In 2001, the budget had a $4 million deficit. At the time, the college used a great deal of endowment money to make up for the loss. Chabotar plans on balancing the budget every year from now on.
Right now, the Budget Committee is charged with closing a $1.5 million gap, which will force them to make hard decisions about fee increases and areas to cut funding.
Hayton said that tuition will likely increase after the budget is determined. Last year the tuition and fees increased 6.5 percent, and this year they are projected to rise 5.9 percent. Currently the average traditional student receives a 40 percent discount with financial aid. But the amount of financial aid given will probably not rise more than 1 percent next year as called for in the SLRP.
“We don’t just arbitrarily pick a percentage [to raise tuition]. We try to be in the range of the market,” Chabotar said.
Guilford is trying to keep the cost of tuition in the middle of its comparative group of colleges.
During the meeting, senior and President of Community Senate Ali Stewart raised concerns about the rising number of CCE students called for by the SLRP while traditional student enrollment levels-off next year. The number of CCE students can be deceiving, however, because the average CCE student takes 10.9 credits per semester. The average traditional student takes more, between 12 and 16.
“I think making sure we continue the quality of education and Guilford experience is of the utmost importance,” Stewart said. “I’m really glad to see Heather Hayton steering the Budget Committee this year. She seemed very in-tune with Guilford culture and didn’t seem like she’d sacrifice that.”
The next meeting to discuss the college budget will take place in January and all students are encouraged to come.
The PowerPoint presentation shown at the meeting can be found at https://phoenix.guilford.edu/GCAnnounce.nsf/.