Faced with the prospect of declining enrollment and increases in contractual costs, the Raritan Valley Community College (RVCC) Board of Trustees tonight passed a budget for FY 2016 that reduces operating costs, restructures administrative functions, and raises tuition by $8 per credit.
“In these challenging fiscal times it’s paramount that Raritan Valley Community College continues its role as the affordable college of choice for New Jersey residents. The new budget strikes the delicate balance between keeping the cost of a college education reasonable for our students, while maintaining the College’s commitment to providing high quality instruction and vital support services,” said RVCC President Michael J. McDonough. “Before asking students to pay more in tuition we scrutinized spending and identified $1.4 million in cost-savings, including not filling vacant positions, retirements, and eliminating four administrative positions through restructuring. We expect to generate additional revenue from new market opportunities, primarily in workforce training.”
“We are very grateful to the Counties of Somerset and Hunterdon for their ongoing support of RVCC and we continue to explore new revenue opportunities in both counties to better serve the community,” President McDonough continued.
A number of factors are contributing to the fiscal challenges facing the College, including a projected decrease in enrollment due to a decline in the size of the local high school graduating classes; contractual increases in employee healthcare and other benefits; and level funding from the state and Counties of Somerset and Hunterdon.
Under the budget tuition would increase to $137 per credit effective for the Fall 2015 Semester. For the average full-time student taking 30 credits during the academic year, tuition would increase by $240.
The $52 million budget approved by the RVCC Board of Trustees, which represents a 3.1% increase over last year, is based on no increase in operating support from the State of New Jersey and the Counties of Somerset and Hunterdon. The budget anticipates funding for the operating budget would come from the following sources:
Tuition and fees 62.1%
State of New Jersey 11.6%
Somerset and Hunterdon Counties 25.7%
Other (investments, rentals, etc.) .6%
(Auxiliary services are not included in these figures)
The Board also approved a $3 million major capital budget and a $750,000 minor capital budget for the upcoming fiscal year. Major components of the capital budget include:
- $500,000 for replacing the College’s main computer server
- $450,000 for expanding the Visitors parking lot
- $525,000 for enhancing the ballfield areas, adding parking areas and restrooms
- $1,525,000 for various infrastructure projects on campus
The budget now goes to the Board of School Estimate for approval at its meeting on Tuesday, May 12, at 10:30 a.m., at the Somerset County Administration Building in Somerville. The Board of School Estimate includes two freeholders from Somerset County, two freeholders from Hunterdon County, and two members of the RVCC Board of Trustees.
Following is a list of the new tuition rates approved by the Board of Trustees and effective for the Fall 2015 Semester:
Fall 2015 Tuition Schedule
|Hunterdon/Somerset County Residents||$137 per credit|
|Out-of-county residents(Board grants a waiver of $30 per credit to students who provide verification of employment in Somerset or Hunterdon Counties)||$167 per credit|
|Out-of-state residents||$167 per credit|
|Early College Program||$175 for all courses taken at participating high schools; regular College tuition and fees apply to all courses taken at the main campus and Bridgewater.|
|RVCC Online Courses & NJ Virtual Community College Courses||$176 per credit; no fees charged.|
|Hunterdon/Somerset Gold Card Senior Citizens||Regular tuition and fees apply|
|NJ National Guard & Reserves||Free tuition for up to 16 credits perterm for individual only. Fees apply.|
|Volunteer Emergency Medical Personnel and Firefighters||Free tuition for up to $600 per yearand $2,400 lifetime per family of volunteer.
|September 11 Victims’ Families||Free tuition for children and spouses ofvictims. Fees apply.|