NEWARK — Autumn semester enrollment numbers are in for Ohio’s colleges and universities and early predictions of a decline across the state have proven true. Nearly all of the institutions that switched to semesters this fall experienced a drop in enrollment. That transition, combined with the start of an economic recovery, resulted in an estimated 13,500 fewer students across the board at Ohio’s colleges and universities.
At Central Ohio Technical College, final headcount for autumn semester 2012 reached 3,716 toward a goal of 4,648, equating to an annualized budgetary shortfall of $3.75 million, according to David H. Brillhart, vice president for business and finance at the college.
COTC is preparing to implement strategic measures that will ensure a balanced budget. Focused on the mission of the college, to meet the technical education and training needs of students and employers in the area, these budget reduction measures preserve the core of the institution, reduce spending where possible and restructure both the extended campuses and The Gateway, a one-stop center for student services.“These are challenging times, and we must work together during these difficult changes as we move toward stabilizing the college,” stated COTC President Bonnie L. Coe, Ph.D.In mid-August, the college announced preliminary budget cuts, which included the elimination of four senior administrative positions. COTC’s executive leadership team conducted an internal review resulting in additional budgetary adjustments, announced by the college today. These changes include:
•Ten positions are being eliminated within the COTC Gateway, including both the Pataskala and Coshocton campus administrators.
•Restructuring of the Gateway and extended campuses, with a renewed focus on serving students and strategic oversight by the office of the president.
•The elimination of three vacant positions in various departments across the college.
•A reduction in the number of course sections offered spring semester as a facilities/space utilization cost saving measure.
•A cost-savings in the operating budget totaling about $475,000, which includes: Relocation of the Digital Media Design labs from its current location, leasing space at The Works, back to the COTC Newark campus (summer 2013); a review of all parking lot and facilities lease agreements, as well as utilities contracts.
•A review of current and future planned capital projects which will result in savings of about $500,000.
During the next two months, COTC will be conducting a comprehensive review of Academic Affairs, including all faculty, staff, and administrative positions and academic programs, in its continuing strategies to close the gap and preserve the core of the institution.
“By reacting swiftly to address the budget deficit, we will ensure the fiscal viability of the college and become a more efficient, focused and student-centered institution,” said Coe. “In doing so, we are confident that we will secure the future of Central Ohio Technical College.”