Montpelier – This week the Vermont State Colleges System Board of Trustees unanimously approved a balanced fiscal year 2018 budget after several years of shortfalls.
The five-college system enrolls over 12,000 students, including over 10,000 Vermonters, and is comprised of Castleton University, Johnson State College, Lyndon State College, Vermont Technical College and the Community College of Vermont.
“This balanced budget reflects the results of proactive leadership and critical new support from the State. It sets us up for success in providing access to quality higher education in all regions of Vermont,” said Board Finance and Facilities Committee Chairman Churchill Hindes.
The system’s fiscal year 2018 budget ends several years of budgets stressed by low state support, a decline in the number of Vermont high school graduates, increased competition from New England and northeastern regional colleges through tuition discounting, and increases in health insurance costs. College presidents submitted budgets that reflected strategic management of resources, which came together in a balanced VSCS budget that realizes savings through a new, system-wide approach to business processes.
The fiscal year 2018 budget was buttressed by several significant initiatives:
– a $3 million increase in the base appropriation from the state;
– $880,000 in state support for the unification of Johnson State College and Lyndon State College into Northern Vermont University, which followed $770,000 in fiscal year 2017;
– $1 million in savings consolidating the administrations of Johnson and Lyndon in FY2018;
– $2.6 million from a major debt refinancing and restructuring; and
– over $1 million in savings from business process efficiencies, benefit changes, and spending reductions.
Governor Scott proposed a funding increase for the system in his FY18 budget address. Legislative leaders also prioritized new support for the Vermont State Colleges System in their final budget bill, approved yesterday.
Chancellor Jeb Spaulding stated, “Sometimes success requires an investment. We appreciate the confidence that the Governor and Legislature showed by investing in their public higher education system.”
The VSCS continues its work to grow enrollment, increase retention and completion rates, and serve more working-age Vermonters. Its six strategic priorities reflect these commitments, which prioritize student success and support budget sustainability.
The VSCS FY18 budget goes into effect July 1.