LOCKPORT – Niagara County Community College plans to increase tuition by 2.6 percent for the 2013-14 academic year, part of a budget that reduces the number of positions, as enrollment has failed to meet expectations.
Two County Legislature committees approved the budget Monday, sending it for a public hearing at 6:45 p.m. next Tuesday, prior to the full Legislature session that may include a vote on the spending plan.
NCCC President James P. Klyczek said that during the school year that just ended, the college saw an overall decline of 5 to 6 percent in enrollment.
The college expected to collect nearly $22.8 million in tuition and fees in 2012-13, but it took in only $20.7 million.
William Schickling, vice president for finance and information technology, said enrollment is expected to bounce back in the coming year, but it’s still not likely to reach the level the college had hoped for a year ago. The new budget anticipates $21.7 million in tuition and fee revenue.
The enrollment drop was blamed on the region’s stagnant population.
“It’s down everywhere,” Klyczek said. “There’s just fewer students graduating from high school.”
He said the numbers fell despite the new NCCC Culinary Arts Institute in Niagara Falls, which drew a first-year enrollment of 350, about what the college had expected. Klyczek still projects that enrollment there will reach 1,000 sometime between the third and fifth years of the facility’s existence.
In the meantime, Klyczek said he is counting on attracting more students from other counties and from outside New York State in order to meet NCCC’s budgetary goals.
“We have first-rate programs in criminal justice, nursing, hospitality and tourism,” he said. “That’s been our mantra the past several years.”
Klyczek said the college has about 7,300 students, counting full- and part-timers.
The full-time, full-year tuition, effective with the fall semester, will be $3,792, an increase of $96 over this year’s cost for in-state students.
Klyczek said the college reacted to the disappointing enrollment by “not pulling the trigger” on several positions included in this year’s budget.
The 2012-13 budget included 311 full-time jobs, but 13 were left vacant. For the new year, the budget includes 308 full-time jobs. There also are seven part-time positions, the same as last year.
Total proposed spending is just under $49.1 million, an increase of 1 percent, or $463,000, from this year.
The college is not seeking an increase in county taxpayers’ contribution. For the seventh consecutive year, the county share of the budget will be $8.87 million. The college will appropriate $500,000 from its reserves.