To make up the amount of money that would be lost if the house budget gets approved, Keene State College would need to raise in-state student tuition by $1,000 or cut 30 jobs.
For in-state students, this increase would be on top of the $800 increase already approved by the University System of New Hampshire; in total, this would be a 23.5 percent increase over last year.
These were among the many suggestions that KSCPresident Helen Giles-Gee presented alongside Vice President for Finance and Planning Jay Kahn, and Special Assistant to the President Misha Charles.
The trio presented expectations for next year’s budget, as well as the idea of making the KSC community more self-advocating. The Mabel Brown Room was reserved from 3 p.m. to 6 p.m. on Tuesday, April 5. The presentation was followed by a question and answer session, which ended around 5 p.m., leaving the crowd an hour to mingle.
Giles-Gee opened the discussion by giving context of the general state of education across the country, including many states facing cuts as large as or larger than what the USNH is expecting.
She also mentioned there may be fear among many members of the community.
“Not knowing the truth could make you feel a lot better than the information we are going to share today,” Giles-Gee said.
The president also talked about what the college has done to try and combat the impending budget cuts.
Some examples of the way the college is trying to combat the cuts included moving many forms online, cutting down on paper usage, and developing of the Advencment Division.
The main point Giles-Gee and Kahn tried to get across was one of unity.
“We need to stand together as a community and not let these issues divide us,” Giles-Gee said.
The president invited all members of the KSC community to provide input via a digital drop box on Google Docs, which will be advertised on the main KSC website.
Giles-Gee suggested that although nothing is set in stone, she sees the impacts being far reaching and affecting everyone, even if it is not the 45 percent reduction the New Hampshire House of Representatives approved.
“The level of reduction may be too large to not impact personnel,” Giles-Gee said.
When Kahn took the stage he explained that the money getting cut is used to subsidize in-state tuition, so in essence the amount getting cut from KSC would work out to roughly $5,000 per in-state student.
According to Kahn, the school had already drawn up plans to cover a 20 percent reduction, but to match the total 45 percent cut, the school will need to look into a reduction in the regular salary increases, an increase to tuition, and the elimination of 30 positions.
The last speaker to take the podium was Charles, who spoke about a new website, www.kscadvocates.org, which is designed to help keep the KSC community informed on issues which effect the college.
Charles also encouraged members of the community to send letters to their legislators explaining how the budge cuts will affect them personally.
One of the major concerns that was also addressed by the presentation was retention of students. According to Kahn, the college doesn’t have the capacity for growth, so the focus needs to be in retaining the students already in attendance.
“When we make decisions to reduce the subsidy for in-state students, that’s going to affect the cost of attendance,” Kahn said.
Sean O’Donnell can be contacted at email@example.com