Summit County CMC students to see tuition hike | SteamboatToday.com

Summit County CMC students to see tuition hike

Caitlin Row/Summit Daily News

— To lessen the blow of funding decreases, Colorado Mountain College is introducing a tuition hike and planning fewer capital projects. To do this, CMC's Board of Trustees recently approved its $65.5 million general fund budget at a meeting in Aspen.

According to CMC spokeswoman Debbie Crawford, administrators had to plan for a potential funding drop of about 50 percent from the state for the fiscal year, as well as similar percentage drops in revenues from the oil and gas industry. School officials also are anticipating that — in the next two to three years — property tax revenues will drop in the college's six-county district by as much as 20 to 30 percent. These projections are based on property valuations, which will be revised based on June 30 assessments.

To combat funding drops, CMC is "moderately" raising its tuition — $4-per-credit-hour for in-district students, $7-per-credit-hour for in-state students, and $53-per-credit hour for out-of-state students. Less spending to facility projects in 2010-11 also was approved.

Things are looking up

Although officials are preparing for the worst, things still are looking good for the High Country community college. Attendance is up, the process to allow students to pursue four-year degrees at CMC is under way, and Summit campuses already have undergone facility improvements.

"Colorado Mountain College is serving over 20 percent more students than we were a couple of years ago," said president Stan Jensen in a budget-packet letter. "We are doing it with basically the same faculty and staff. This is possible because of significant gains in efficiency and productivity of our processes and systems, and the dedication of our board, faculty, staff and administration."

Despite an overall projected decrease in funding, Crawford also said Dillon and Breckenridge CMC campuses will see a bump in funding to accommodate an increase in enrollment.

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"Summit County is one of our fastest-growing campuses," Crawford said. "Our state, property tax and tuition revenues come into a collegewide general fund. Based on projected growth in enrollment for the coming year, and priorities within our collegewide facilities master plan, campuses receive funding. Through this type of a funding stream, we were able to open our newest building in Breckenridge last summer."

CMC's Breckenridge Campus last year moved to a newly constructed building off Coyne Valley Road, and the Dillon Campus also underwent an expansion.

The community college's newest budget reflects less spending on facilities projects this coming year, as several large projects already have wrapped up. Capital projects planned include an expansion of the CMC building in Edwards, and a start on the replacement of several older buildings in Steamboat Springs with a single building plus a new access road. The budget for the Edwards project will be no more than $8 million, and it's expected to be open by summer 2011.