After the 2008 financial crisis where student enrollment at Umpqua Community College skyrocketed, enrollment has stabilized at a point similar to pre-crisis levels. The budget in turn has leveled-off to a lower level as revenue from student fees and state funding based on enrollment has decreased.
UCC Institutional Researcher Xiana Smithhart said at the Nov. 15 budget forum that student full time equivalent, a metric used to determine the number of contact hours of direct instructional activity with students, has continued to decline to pre-recession levels as the majority of students that started their programs during the recession have completed, transferred or re-entered the workforce. FTE is down in all courses and subjects from 4460.45 FTE in the 2011-12 fiscal year FTE is down to 2943.59. FTE is not only used internally by the college to determine enrollment levels, but also by the state to distribute funds, according to Smithhart.
Rebecca Redell, vice president of Financial Services and chief financial officer said that since so many people lost their jobs during the last financial crisis, many chose to enroll at their local community college to learn a new trade. These new students created a financial bubble for UCC that provided a short-term boost to the budget, but within the last few years enrollment has dropped off as those students graduated or left the school.
UCC will also not be gaining a significant increase in the state’s allocation of funds in the coming year as a result of Measures 97 failing to pass.
“We won’t know what we’re getting from the state until the state assembly meets, which won’t happen until next June,” Redell said. Though the legislature will start meeting beginning February 2017, Redell doesn’t expect funding numbers to come from them until June. UCC administrators will, however, need to formulate a budget well before then. Redell said that, as a result, two budgets will have to be drawn up with one acting as a backup in case of cuts to the college’s state allocation.
Currently UCC receives approximately $10.2 million of their $80 million budget from the state. Cuts from the state’s allocation after the assembly meets are expected to range from 7 to 10 percent Redell said. That means anywhere from $700,000 to upwards of $1 million is expected to be cut from the college’s budget.
Redell said the failure of ballot Measure 97, which proposed a new tax increase on corporations making $25 million or more in sales means the state will have to deal with a $1.4 billion shortfall that is expected to directly affect Oregon’s community colleges instead of having a budget surplus.
In an article for The News Review UCC board member Doris Lathrop said the passing of ballot Measure 98 was also a factor in projected cuts to the college’s general budget. Measure 98 requires the state legislature to fund career and college readiness as well as dropout-prevention programs in Oregon high schools.
“There’s no money in the budget to fund Measure 98,” Lathrop said to The News-Review. “For us it’s going to make it more difficult budget-wise to be asking for our general fund monies from the Legislature, because a lot of the general fund monies now will have to fund Measure 98.”
“There’s no money in the budget to fund Measure 98,” -Doris Lathrop UCC Board Member