Co-Lin board OKs new year budget with tuition hikes

Published 5:00 am Friday, June 4, 2004

WESSON – Copiah-Lincoln Community College trustees gave finalapproval Thursday to a $17.6 million new year budget that asksstudents to pay a little more to attend the school.

Due to state funding uncertainty, trustees last month authorizedthe administration to prepare a budget for the new year that startsJuly 1. Included was the authority to increase tuition by $100 asemester, from $700 a semester to $800 a semester.

Trustees Thursday ratified the administration’s action, as wellas approved some other budget-related items.

Dr. Howell Garner, college president, told trustees thatCo-Lin’s funding reduction in student enrollment-related areas wasless than originally predicted. He said the college benefited froma student enrollment increase and a change in the state fundingformula.

“We dodged a bullet,” Garner said of the $163,000 drop inenrollment related funding.

Financial Director Michael Tanner pointed out that Co-Lin isslated to receive a slight $3,697 net increase from the state dueto funding for budget items not tied to student population. Thatwould leave state income for the school virtually flat at around$7.5 million.

Dr. Steve Wells, chairman of the board’s budget and financecommittee, commended Co-Lin faculty and staff on efforts toincrease enrollment.

“We are thankful for that increase in revenue from increaseenrollment relative to other institutions,” Wells said.

Trustees Thursday also approved a $100 per semester increase forout-of-state students from $800 to $900. For those students, theaction raises their per semester costs to $1,700.

In the past, Garner said Co-Lin has been trying to cover theminimum level the state requires from out of state students. Hesaid Co-Lin had been the lowest while the highest was $1,450 atCoahoma Community College.

Co-Lin officials speculated an increase in the minimum fee wouldbe coming in the future.

“We’ll still be in the lower tier of what community collegescharge,” Tanner said.

Trustees questioned what impact the tuition increase would haveon Co-Lin’s Natchez campus.

“It’s difficult to say, but I don’t think it will besignificant,” said Ronnie Nettles, dean of the campus.

Also Thursday, trustees approved a $10 increase in the parkingdecal fee to $20 a year. Garner said that was in line with whatother community colleges charge.

“Parking is a premium,” Garner said about the situation on theCo-Lin campus.

Garner said a parking lot is being constructed behind thechapel. Revenue from the parking decal could be used to addressparking needs.

Due to recent difficulties involving commencement exercises,Garner asked for and received permission to request tax levyincreases from Co-Lin district county boards of supervisors.

Garner said the additional revenue, if approved, could be usedto construct a large enough building to handle graduations andother school functions. He said the building could be several yearsdown the road.

Because of inclement weather, commencement exercises the lasttwo years have had to be moved from Stone Stadium to the gymnasium.School officials said that resulted in some cramped conditions.

“You’ve heard of standing room only, there was no standingroom,” Garner said.