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Budget cuts, staff reductions, a tuition increase and other belt-tightening moves are coming to the state’s largest community college.
On Friday, Dr. Clyde Muse, president of Hinds Community College in Raymond, the school’s Board of Trustees and its administrative team rolled out budget reduction plans ahead of the start of the new fiscal year, which begins July 1.
Among those plans, according to a news release:
- All vice presidents, deans and directors were asked to present plans to reduce their budget by 6 percent from the FY 2017 budget. These individual plans include reductions from salaries, benefits, part-time positions, adjunct overload pay, materials, supplies, travel and/or equipment. They were submitted to and approved by Muse.
- Vacant positions must be reviewed and approved by the President
- The salary schedule for FY 2018 remains at the FY 2017 level, meaning no will receive pay raises.
- A $10 per-credit-hour increase in student tuition and a 3 percent increase in meal plans
- Limited out-of-state travel for employees
- Increase the required minimum number of students in each class and to reduce adjunct costs
- Increased rental fees for use of college facilities and added convenience fees for specific transactions to cover additional merchant costs.
- Reduced the total number of full-time employees through reorganization of vacant positions, retirements, etc.
Muse said the state’s community college system received a more than a 10 percent reduction in funding for the coming fiscal year; Hinds’s budget was cut 12 percent, or $4.4 million less the current year’s budget, he said.
“In the last couple of years, our expenses have increased while our enrollment and state appropriations have declined, which has resulted in a decrease in our unrestricted fund balance or our savings account,” Muse said.
The announcement of the new cuts comes on the heels of Hinds Community College being placed on “warning” notice by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC) committee. This warning resulted from compliance with SACSCOC standards related to financial stability and institutional effectiveness.
The SACS website states that a warning often, but not necessarily, precedes probation. An institution may be placed on warning or probation for noncompliance with any of the core requirements or significant noncompliance with the comprehensive standards.
“The commission’s decision to issue this warning to the institution has no bearing on our daily operations; it will not affect federal funding, including financial aid available to students,” Muse said.