The Vermont State Colleges System says an additional $3 million from state coffers has allowed it to pass a balanced budget for the first time in several years.
Trustees for the five-college system voted unanimously this week to pass a budget for fiscal 2018 with no shortfall. Past shortfalls were the result of “low state support,” a drop in the number of Vermonters graduating high school, and increased competition through discounted tuition at other colleges and universities in the Northeast, according to a news release from the state colleges system.
With its base state appropriation increased by $3 million and an additional $880,000 to support the merger of Johnson State and Lyndon State into Northern Vermont University, the system was able to reach a balanced budget.
The merger also yielded $1 million in savings through consolidating administration. A major refinancing of debt created another $2.6 million in savings, according to the release.
“This balanced budget reflects the results of proactive leadership and critical new support from the state. It sets us up for success in providing access to quality higher education in all regions of Vermont,” said Churchill Hindes, board Finance and Facilities Committee chairman, in a statement.
The Vermont State Colleges System has more than 12,000 students, including more than 10,000 Vermonters. It comprises Castleton University, Johnson State College, Lyndon State College, Vermont Technical College in Randolph and the Community College of Vermont.
The Lyndon and Johnson campuses will both stay open, although they will adopt the new name beginning July 1, 2018. The merger was undertaken to avert a predicted financial crisis for the two institutions.