LBW facing ‘very difficult budget’

Published 8:31 am Thursday, May 31, 2012

LBW Community College officials said Tuesday they are bracing for a “very difficult budget” for the upcoming fiscal year.

“We have not received official notice from (the) DPE (Department of Postse-condary Education) of what our share of the state appropriation will be for LBWCC, but the current proposal has it at $6,681,189, which is a reduction of $275,607 from last year,” said Dr. Herb Riedel, LBWCC president. “I am concerned about the decrease in funding – especially since we were forced to dip into reserves this year. At this point, the college is in the process of developing a budget for the coming year and it will be a very difficult budget.”

Statewide, community colleges experienced increases in enrollment from 2008 and 2010, but have since seen decreased enrollments.

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In fact, for spring semester 2012, LBWCC is down nearly 9 percent from this time last year, which was comparable to the fall semester as well. There were 1,672 students enrolled collegewide the spring semester.

In the fall semester 2010, LBWCC saw record-breaking enrollment with 1,912 students.

DPE’s website shows approximately 97,000 students enrolled in the system for the fall semester, which is down from 102,000 enrolled in 2010.

With fewer enrolled students, less money is available for services and employee paychecks, and the latest state education budget cuts compound the problem.

According to the DPE, state community colleges will see their budgets decrease by 2.42 percent for the coming school year.

Also, tuition will be increased across the board by 1.87 percent.

“Tuition will go up by $2 per credit hour next fall, but this is not enough to make up the difference,” Riedel said.

Despite cuts to the budget, scholarship recipients shouldn’t worry. There will be no changes.

“LBWCC is fortunate to have two supporting foundations, the Lurleen B. Wallace Community College Foundation and the Douglas MacArthur State Technical College Foundation,” said Renee LeMaire, LBWCC public information office and marketing director. “These foundations were formed to support the college through scholarships for students and financial support of approved programs to increase the margin of excellence in education, not otherwise available through institutional funds alone.”