Tuition, some fees, and state appropriations assist to finance new building
While Keene State College students express concern regarding the near 45 percent cuts in the University System of New Hampshire’s state funding, they have been looking with a more scrutinizing eye at the budgets of various aspects of campus, including the building of the $5.4 million Alumni Center, which opened in 2010.
The USNH Board of Trustees approved the borrowing of $6.5 million by KSC from the reserve in the form of deferred maintenance needs. Deferred maintenance creates a fund from student fees in which the college can draw upon to renovate buildings in need of repair. This borrowing occurred from the USNH Treasury’s cash reserves at 5 percent interest. The loan will be paid off by KSC in ten years at $770,000 per year. The money will come from the repair and renovation budget, a subset of the total operating budget that stems from all revenue including tuition, some fees, and state appropriations of the college, created by the college annually.
This borrowing of funds from USNH is normal procedure by schools within the system in order to develop and advance.
Student body president Donnie Clemmenson said that about $13 million of the typical $100 million USNH budget is allotted to KSC. He said that when the shared allotments of all of the USNH schools are added up, however, the total is not the USNH’s total budget.
“From my understanding,” Clemmenson said. “It never really goes to the schools.”
These leftover funds are made available to USNH schools as reserves for renovations and other projects necessary for capital projects.
The Alumni Center became one such capital project several years ago for two large reasons. Alumni relations and college relations, both of which are now located in the new Alumni Center, were previously held in the Elliot and Hale buildings, both of which were not handicap accessible to alumni.
“The purpose is to help bring resources to the campus for the students,” Maryann Lindburg, vice president for advancement, said. “This building serves as the bridge between the campus and our potential partners.”
“For that reason, we knew we needed to relocate both the advancement alumni relations and college relations functions,” Dr. Jay Kahn, vice president for finance and planning, said.
Following the determination of a need for an Alumni Center in 2004, when the most recent master plan was designed as is the policy every ten years, USNH launched a separate analysis to boost USNH revenue.
“A few years later, by the time we get to 2008, endowment portfolios begin to decline in value and there were shortfalls in state funding. And the University System Board of Trustees began an analysis which led to a comprehensive initiative for improving fundraising activities at all of the University System campuses,” Kahn said.
This initiative determined that USNH needed to improve its alumni relations, and began to put aside reserves in order to fund the necessary changes to do so.
“At that point, these two needs started to merge,” Kahn said of the new Alumni Center and the need to increase fundraising across the board within USNH.
KSC then borrowed the $6.5 million and is now repaying USNH back through the repair and renovation budget, a part of the general operating budget, which is $68 million of the college’s approximately $120 million budget.
“The general operating budget includes tuition, some fees, state appropriations. Other parts of the budget, like auxiliaries, include the mandatory fees for facilities and room and board. There are other non-mandatory fee-supported functions, like parking or international studies,” Kahn said. “And then there are grants, contracts, and gifts and endowment.”
The portion of the operating budget composed of student fees are intended only for the normal operating costs of buildings.
“What I think is the college is taking those operating budgets to run those facilities,” Clemmenson said of the portion of fees that go toward the general operating budget. Of the possibility of extra portions being taken in order to pay for projects like the Alumni Center, Clemmenson said, “It’s really not supposed to be from student fees.”
Kahn expressed the importance of using these funds in order to improve KSC. He said if KSC does not use the funds, it leaves the opportunity open for other USNH schools to use the money.
“There is a bit of competitiveness in drawing on these resources,” Kahn said. “I think we’ve done very well in bringing funds to Keene State College to address some very high priority needs identified by both the campus and the University System trustees. And I would say too, we’ve been very open about our campus priorities.”
Both Lindburg and Patty Farmer, director of alumni and parent relations, stress the importance of the resources that the Alumni Center provides, not only to alumni, but to students as well.
“I know it’s hard to appreciate the value,” Farmer said. “So far, people haven’t looked into how and what we do what we do.”
They note that while the Alumni Center does serve as a liaison between the school and alumni, it also is a place for students to obtain jobs and connections for careers after graduation.
Allie Bedell can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org