The Paw Print
Adams State College students may face a tuition increase next year if Governor John Hickenlooper’s proposed budget cuts are approved. The governor presented his revised budget proposal to the Joint Budget Committee on Feb. 15. The proposed cuts to education from K -12 through colleges and universities would likely affect many San Luis Valley school districts as well as ASC.
The $36 million in reductions suggested for higher education would impact colleges and universities across Colorado. ASC would lose approximately $600,000 on top of the 1.7 million cut that was previously expected.
This year ASC received 12.1 million dollars from the state and another $1.4 million in federal stimulus funds. With the cuts proposed by Hickenlooper that amount would be reduced to approximately 11 million next year.
Vice President for Finance and Governmental Relations at ASC Bill Mansheim said that it is important for students to keep in mind that this budget proposal has not yet been approved. Before it is completed the budget committee may make changes to the proposal. There is still a long process to go through and it may not be decided until May.
The proposal has many students around the state worried about the possibility of a raise in tuition to cover the proposed loss. Mansheim said that the college is currently working to mitigate the affect cuts will have on student tuition. Students may see an increase of around ten to 15 percent, but the college is trying to keep the shift to students as low as they can. Student tuition was increased by nine percent last year.
In a message to ASC staff, President David Svaldi asked his direct reports to “identify either reductions or revenue increases that total $350,000 with the intent of keeping necessary tuition increases for our students at a reasonable level.”
Julie Waechter, assistant to the president for communications, said that that the goal of keeping increases at a reasonable level is paramount for ASC because of the unique student body. It is important to maintain access and affordability at the school.
Another portion of the cut would likely to be made up for in salary savings in the college. Waechter said that vacancies within the college will be reviewed. Some money is saved because it often takes months to fill a position. Mansheim said that there are currently no plans to cut any programs at the school, but did reiterate that some employment positions may not be filled.
Mansheim said that the cuts were not really unexpected and that they could still get worse. The actual amount of the reductions will likely be based on the state of the economy when the final state budget decisions are made.
Mansheim said that individual students may need to be more concerned by what happens with a federal decision to cut Pell Grants. Many ASC students receive the grant and would face a challenge if they are cut. He suggests students who are concerned about how these changes and cuts might affect them should contact financial aid through the One Stop.