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L’Heureux explains college finances

By Staff | Mar 25, 2011

Estherville Rotarians Thursday got the full story on college funding from Bob L’Heureux, Iowa Lakes Community College vice president of administration.

As L’Heureux explained, college funding is much different than corporate funding and involves several separate funding accounts. Among those funds are the general unrestricted fund; restricted general fund which pay for grants; the auxiliary fund which pays for residence halls, bookstore and food service and the plant fund which voters last September voted to renew until June 30, 2022.

L’Heureux said three budget items not firmed up yet for next year include tuition, state funding and the salaries and benefits package.

The economic downturn has actually helped the college bottom line. While the college ended the 2008 and 2009 school years in a deficit, L’Heureux said student numbers are up significantly because of the recession, giving the college a $1 million surplus at the end of the last academic year on June 30, 2010.

Another thing that has helped the college service district is a 4.56 percent increase in valuation, something that has helped offset the total district levies which will be down a penny next year, L’Heureux said.

Tuition and fees take care of just a little over half of the general unrestricted fund and community colleges have taken hits in state aid, he said. Federal stimulus dollars have been used for general operating expenses to help offset some of the loss of state aid. It’s the tuition for over 4,000 full-time and part-time students that largely pays the $17 million payroll which is 75 percent of the district budget, L’Heureux said.

Over the past year, the college has seen major changes in information technology and the entire district has wireless computing. Another upgrade is planned for the college TV system.

The college wind turbine and energy technology program is expecting 110-115 new freshmen next fall, said Darin Moeller, Estherville campus dean.

L’Heureux said the college plans on using the Medieval Glass building it bought last fall for corporate training for its renewable energy program.