As a result, the numbers presented were only guesses based on several different scenarios of state support for the College.
Barbara Wineberg, College treasurer, laid out three scenarios for tuition increases, differing in the amount of state funding for contractual increases in salaries that the College is obligated to pay. Each scenario assumed that the legislature will not cut the College’s base appropriation of $37 million. In addition, they only factored increases to personnel costs and modest fuel and utility costs. Reallocation of existing budgets will be needed to cover other increases in costs.
The governor’s budget calls for the state to fund 20 percent of the College’s total salary program. Under this scenario, tuition would rise 8 percent to $7,151, a $530 increase over 2004-05. If the legislature allocated no funds to the salary program, tuition would rise $629 to total $7,250, a 9.5 percent increase. On the other hand, if the state funded half of the salary program, tuition would increase $364 to total $6,985, up 5.5 percent over this year.
In addition to these three scenarios is a $684 increase to fees, room and board, fixing that price at $11,134, a 6.5 percent increase over this year. Gitenstein said the College hoped to use part of that increase toward the Student Activities Fee and Brower Student Center Fee as the Student Finance Board requested. However, she said the College was, at the moment, focused on the bottom line rather than the increase to individual fees.
Gitenstein said salaries and utilities would not be the only increased costs, so trying to make existing budgets meet increased costs would be difficult. “Any of these (scenarios) will be a huge challenge,” Gitenstein said. “We have a lot of work ahead of us.”
But, she said, the College would “preserve its academic core,” while being mindful of the impact of tuition increases on families.
While the legislature has generally adopted the governor’s proposed budget in the past, Gitenstein said she could not even guess which one of the three scenarios was most likely.
And while the scenarios presented at the hearing are based on funding for salary increases, she said the College is more focused on the total amount of money to go around from the state rather than funding for specific areas.
The Board will meet June 30, and, depending on the condition of the state budget, may make a final decision on tuition and fees. State law requires that the state budget be passed by July 1.