(Host) A leader in Vermont’s public higher education system says that the Vermont State Colleges will need to raise tuition in the coming budget year.
Robert Clarke is chancellor of the Vermont State Colleges. He says the state has chronically underfunded the college system. And with the financial crisis creating an even tighter state budget, the colleges are left with few options:
(Clarke) "While we’re reluctant to push tuition higher, we’ll have to do that. Luckily the federal Pell Grants are going to go up, so it’ll mitigate the impact for the students. But we are going to raise tuition to meet the needs of proving a quality education."
(Host) Clarke says the amount of the increase hasn’t been determined, and won’t be voted on until April. He says the state college system began cost-cutting measures years ago, and that effort will continue:
(Clarke) "Since 2000, we started consolidating a lot of our back office functions – payroll and purchasing and other things. We increased our full-time-equivalent enrollment by 41.7 percent and only increased our full-time employees by a little over 10 percent because we’re much, much, much more cost-effective. And by streamlining our operations we will continue to that as much as we can."
(Host) There several construction projects planned at state college campuses. Clarke says the funding and lines of credit for those projects were secured before the financial crisis hit, and those planned construction projects will go ahead.
Vermont State Colleges include campuses in Castleton, Johnson, Lyndon, Vermont Technical College and Community College of Vermont.