Grayson College is currently projecting a $1.07 milllion funding decrease for the next fiscal year, following projected decreases in enrollment and state funding amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
The update came last week during the monthly board of trustees meeting in which college staff outlined three possible scenarios for next year’s budget. The talks were intended to serve as one of the first steps toward setting the upcoming budget.
“These numbers are very early,” GC President Jeremy McMillan said last week. “I don’t want to say it could be worse than the worst case scenario projected here, but I was on a call this morning that one of my colleagues was budgeting a scenario for a 20 percent reduction in state funding.
“So, if you went on that alone, you would add on $888,000 less in our pockets for that.”
For the current year, the college is anticipating that revenues will be modestly over expenses by about $398,000 for the full year. College officials attributed this in part to a mixture of reduced enrollment and tuition alongside some savings from adjunct salaries, utilities and other expenses that were stalled due to the pandemic.
For the upcoming year, college officials presented three scenarios that represent the best, worst and most-likely scenario for budget going into 2021. The best-case scenario is the only scenario that presents the college with revenues over expenses.
“Those numbers that have changes would have been positive numbers in previous years and right now we are looking at the possibility of negatives,” GC Vice President of Business Services Giles Brown said.
In the best case scenario, the college anticipates a budget increase of about $849,500. However, on the other side of the spectrum, the worst case scenario could see the college budget drop by $3.27 million.
The largest portion of this decrease can be attributed to tuition decreases, with a possible loss of $1.91 million from general tuition and an additional $565,000 associated with courses from the Center for Workplace Learning.
“As we see registration come in for the summer term, it is not what it has been at this time in the past,” McMillan said.
Currently the college is looking at what courses can be transitioned for online. The college is also working to alleviate congestion in classes that must meet in person. These including lab work and skills-based courses, including manufacturing and industrial courses in the CWL.
In all cases, the college is anticipating an increase in local tax funding due to increasing property values. This anticipated increase ranges from $425,000 in the worst-case scenario to $936,500 for the best-case scenario.
With the COVID-19 pandemic having a negative impact on the economy, McMillan said the college is anticipating a drop in collection rate from the historic 98 percent to about 95 percent.
“We feel sure that values will be up and looking at collection rates even in downturns we haven’t seen a decrease in that,” Brown said.
Michael Hutchins is the local government reporter for the Herald Democrat. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.