MHCC Budget Notice
Gresham, Ore. — The Mt. Hood Community College Board of Education, acting as the budget committee, received the proposed 2016-17 FY budget at their board meeting tonight. The budget is a $357 million package which includes a number of reallocation requests the college believes will aid in key strategic efforts, such as more advisers, new programs and transforming outdated paper-based processes to digital ones
Included in the budget request is a $2.00 per credit hour tuition increase for new students at MHCC. This would only affect new students beginning in this year’s summer term, as under the college’s Tuition Pledge program enacted last year, students who enroll at MHCC are locked in at the rate in which they first enrolled. This means that students will never see a tuition increase over the life of their degree at the college, as long as they complete their degree within four years. The $2 increase aligns the college directly with the Higher Education Price Index (HEPI). The board voted in favor of the tuition increase.
A number of new allocations are designed to help MHCC in its strategic goals, including student access and success. To that extent, the college has committed more than $150,000 to an increase in advising staff to support students. Advisers are key to helping students navigate the often-tricky process of becoming a student, enrolling in classes and successfully reaching their educational goals.
New programs include nearly $100,000 towards the start of a mechatronics program, which is multidisciplinary engineering field. Other new programs are the Medical Assisting program, and Project Proto, a pilot entrepreneurship program for high school students through the college’s Small Business Development Center.
“We went our and talked to business and industry and health care,” said MHCC’s president Dr. Debra Derr. “These are the programs they tell us they will be needing.”
The college is also embracing the digital age by transforming a number of processes away from paper, including instituting an online digital catalog, and eliminating paper time and attendance sheets that currently need to be physically administered, collected and inputted.
“This will allow out Human Resources and Payroll staff more time to focus on supporting employees who serve our students, rather than doing mundane tasks by hand,” said Dr. Derr.
Included in the budget is the college’s commitment to keep at least 5 percent reserves in fund balance. Not only is this important to maintain a healthy bottom line in case of emergency, this could potentially impact the college if the May 2016 bond measure passes. Credit rating institutions such as Moody’s often look to the fund balance when determining an institution’s overall credit worthiness.
All-in-all, the final budget comes from months of balancing needs and costs versus the strategic and academic master plans for the college while gathering insight from faculty, staff students and the community, to put forth a budget that allows the college in invest strategically, but be nimble enough to adapt as needed.
“We have a budget that is no longer reactionary in decision making, but strategic, forward thinking and committed to the success of our students, faculty, staff, partners and larger community,” said Dr. Derr.