Budget cuts shouldn’t affect students

MCCC officials are certain budget cuts will be undetected by students.

“We really tightened the budget, but our goal was not to sacrifice in any way the services provided to our students or the instructional quality our education provides,” said Sue Wetzel, Vice President of Administration and Treasurer.

The college has lost revenue, so it had to cut several areas in the budget. The total revenue is projected to be $32.3 million, down $642,527 from last year.

President Kojo Quartey said that despite the decrease in revenue, the college is offering several new improvements for student success.

The college introduced a new scholarship program this year.

The Trustee Merit Scholarship program awards eligible students a scholarship based on ACT or SAT scores.

Students with minimum score qualifications automatically receive a scholarship when they apply and register for classes. Dual-enrolled students are also eligible for a scholarship.

The scholarship is split equally between semesters and is renewable each year if the student keeps a 2.5 minimum GPA.

“The redesign of the institutional scholarships is, in my opinion, a huge bonus to our students. I think we are helping a lot more students cover some of their educational costs,” Wetzel said.

The new program disperses the money designated to scholarships in smaller amounts to more students.

Wetzel said the college can give around 25 students partial scholarships with the money it previously gave 10 students full-ride scholarships.

The college reduced its full-ride scholarships so it could fund the new program.

In the 2015-2016 school year, the college awarded 124 full-ride scholarships. This year, the college has budgeted to award 218 scholarships, but the majority will be partial scholarships.

Of the 218 scholarships awarded, 65 are full-ride and the rest are Trustee Merit scholarships.

Wetzel predicts the college will hand out 290 scholarships in the 2017-2018 school year: 20 full ride scholarships and 270 partial scholarships.

She said the college will honor the second year of scholarships awarded last year, although some of them no longer exist.

The college will collect more money for the Trustee Merit Scholarship program next year when the previous scholarship agreements end.

The budget also includes funds to enhance some student services.

Quartey expects exciting improvements on campus for students. There will be more money to reach out to students all over campus.

“Overall, there is going to be more of an emphasis towards student services on this campus,” Quartey said. “For example, with the LAL, the number of students with disabilities are growing, so we are certainly putting more money towards that.”

Wetzel said the Disadvantaged Student Services budget increased approximately $7,800. The funds are used to hire student note-takers to assist students with disadvantages.

Quartey’s mission is to increase retention rates.

“I think a good way of retaining students is to have them involved in campus activities where they feel like they are part of a family,” Quartey said.

Quartey wants to increase the number of clubs on campus, so he asked professors to be willing to advise.

He wants the college to offer athletic club teams, intermural sports, DECA (marketing), Business Professionals of America, a chess club, and a ping pong club.

Wetzel said she budgeted $21,185 for student clubs last year, but the college only spent $16,724.98. Rather than reducing the budget, Wetzel left the budget the same to compensate for Quartey’s plans.

Wetzel said cutting the budget was very time consuming because cuts were considered for every line item.

The college did not spend additional money by filling any of the seven full-time positions open from previous years.

The 2016-2017 budget cut two full-time equivalent employee positions by reevaluating positions when staff members left.

This reduction was a result of combining and relocating multiple positions. 

There are also major adjustments to adjunct faculty funding because enrollment was expected to decrease.

Capital outlay such as equipment for classrooms, offices, and grounds crew were cut.

The capital budget is $74,375, whereas years ago the college budgeted hundreds of thousands of dollars.

Renovations are budgeted under $6,000 this year. Much like with the capital outlay budget, hundreds of thousands of dollars were formally spent to keep the college maintained.

Wetzel said the college has not budgeted for new carpet or fresh paint because it does not have the money this year.

“It’s just an overall tightening,” she said.