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COCC hold-the-line budget includes tuition hike


The Central Oregon Community College board got its first look at a proposed budget for the coming year Wednesday evening as the first meeting of the COCC board and budget committee.

The college has about a $50 million general fund budget that pays for most school programs.

Ron Paradis, executive director of college relations, said this coming year is a maintenance budget, since no big changes are expected after several years of expansion.

In its forecast, the college said it hopes to identify financial trends early on to plan accordingly and understand long-term effects of budget decisions. Enrollment declined by 3.6 percent in the current school year — the fifth straight year of falling enrollment, but only about half of the budgeted drop — and the college expects it to climb again over the next four to five years.

“This year was a pretty calm year,” Paradis said. “Enrollment was down a little bit, but we actually projected it to be down even more, so we are going to end the year in a pretty good place, as far as the budget goes. That will allow us to move a little bit more money forward, which is very helpful as we look at some of the challenges in the upcoming year.”

The college does not yet know how much money it will receive from the state, but it will propose raising tuition by $2 per credit, to $95, which is about a 2 percent increase.

The big concerns the college faces are an increase in PERS retirement costs and changes in health insurance costs. But Paradis said those challenges won’t directly affect the general fund for the upcoming year.

“There’s nothing new that is going to be a major expense, and certainly nothing that we’re looking at making any cuts on,” Paradis said. “No new positions, programs, or eliminating of programs – it’s just a budget allowing us to move forward.”

The COCC budget committee will hold its next meeting on April 12, focusing on areas outside of the general fund.

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