Big Bend CC trustees approve 2018-19 budget

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MOSES LAKE — Big Bend Community College will operate with a $18,675,188 budget in 2018-19. College trustees approved the budget at the regular meeting June 7.

The college will receive an estimated $10,978,022 in state education support, and about $4 million in tuition. The Running Start program is projected to generate an estimated $3,697,266.

Running Start allows qualifying high school students to attend college classes, and get credit for them, while they’re still in high school.

The state allocation accounts for about 59 percent of BBCC’s 2018-19 budget. Tuition accounts for about 21 percent and Running Start and associated programs for about 20 percent.

The budget is built on the equivalent of 1,703 full time students. Bryce Humpherys, vice president for learning and student success, said the estimate is based on a three-year rolling average of college enrollment.

Humpherys said state officials set a target for each community college, and funding is based on that target. If a college’s enrollment comes in below the target, funding will be cut. In answer to a question from trustee Jon Lane, Humpherys said BBCC is below its target. “Based on our winter quarter enrollment, the state board projects we will end the year at 89 percent of our target.”

The enrollment shortfall will, eventually, affect BBCC’s funding, he said.

“So we’ll feel it in the next academic year,” said trustee Stephen McFadden. Humpherys said the impact would come in the 2019-20 academic year.

“It (declining enrollment) is an issue of concern,” Humpherys said.

College officials are working on ways to recruit and retain students, he said. More classes will be offered online and at night. “In this upcoming year, we are adjusting our schedule so a student who is attending full time could earn a transfer degree either fully online or attending in the evening.” That’s also an attractive option for adults during a time of low unemployment, Humpherys said. The online classes have been showing some growth, he said.

In addition, “we have a very strong focus on strengthening our relationships with the high schools (in the BBCC service district).”

Increasing enrollment – and getting the college’s athletic program on an improved economic footing – was also part of the decision to add men’s and women’s wrestling as a varsity sport for 2018-19. The goal is to add sports that will attract more students, Humpherys said, and wrestling was chosen because it’s relatively low-cost.

Cheryl Schweizer can be reached via email at education@columbiabasinherald.com.

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