By Sandy Barnes
It looks as though Aims Community College is now facing a financial challenge similar to other schools throughout the country. Because of declining state revenues, Aims is now anticipating budget cuts this year. According to recent article in The Chronicle of Higher Education, community colleges from New Mexico to North Carolina and Rhode Island are in the same position.
“Basically, we’re looking at the remainder of the school year,” said Aims’s spokesperson Amy Kegg while discussing the projected 10 percent cut in state funding for the college. The present plan is to make five percent cuts by the end of this term and another five percent when the new school year begins in the fall, she added.
Because Aims is funded primarily through its local taxing district, the state contribution is relatively minimal, Kegg explained. When asked where the cuts will come from, Kegg said that no decisions have yet been made.
“We’re looking into that now. We don’t have anything determined,” she said. “That continues to be a moving target.” But all departments at the college are looking at possible ways to trim spending, Kegg added.
While discussing possible decreases in course offerings to make up for the budget shortfall, Kegg noted the recent decision to stop offering life enrichment courses to people over the age of 50 at a reduced tuition rate was not related.
The recently created Lifelong Learning Institute provides an alternative to people in the community, Kegg said. There is no age requirement for these informal classes and they are open to everyone. Upcoming classes in the program include art and computer courses along with others that are in the process of development.
While funding sources are dwindling, enrollment numbers at Aims continue to increase, just as they are at many other community colleges nationwide. There are up to 10 percent more students now attending classes at Aims than there were just last year, said Kegg.
With campuses in Loveland, Greeley and Fort Lupton, Aims offers more than 130 degree and certificate programs to students. There are also plans to build a new Aims campus in Berthoud by the year 2012. The college will be located at the intersection of Colorado Hwy. 56 and Interstate 25.