Broward College Proposes Budget Adjustments to Improve Student Success

Institution strengthens advising, tutoring, equity, and addresses food insecurity for students

FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. (May 29, 2020) – In a move to impact more students and help them overcome barriers to completion, Broward College is recommending to its Board of Trustees the reinvestment of some areas of College expenditure for the 2020-21 budget. The proposals aim to improve advising, tutoring, equity, and the establishment of food pantries across its campuses. The adjustments will be presented to the Board of Trustees on June 30. The recommendations follow nearly two years of developing a priority-based funding model that focuses the College's efforts toward investments that yield the most significant impact to students, the College, the taxpayer, and the community. 

Since the start of the process in 2018, the need for more thoughtful financial assessment has materially compounded. State support has become more of a challenge: the $1.4 million recurring costs of the Florida Retirement System has shifted to Broward College, there are no Public Education Outlay (PECO) dollars to address approximately $100 million in deferred maintenance, and approximately $850,000 was removed from Broward College for the 2020-2021 fiscal year. This is in addition to managing rising expenses, declining enrollment trends, tuition caps; and now, weathering the historic and unforeseeable impact of COVID-19.  

Among the most significant adjustments contemplated in the proposed budget are the discontinuation of the College’s Athletics program, the closure of the Early Childhood Laboratory (“ECL”) School, the suspension of operations at Bailey Hall, OMNI, and the Planetarium (“Venues”), and the reduction in force of faculty counselors (approved by the Board in April 2020 consistent with the timeline in the collective bargaining agreement). Notably, the Athletics program serves 147 students. The cost per athlete is $11,009. The ECL serves the children of 36 students and one College employee at a cost per student of $855, and due to COVID 19, employees of the College’s Venues have no shows or events to manage.

As part of the recommendation to the Board, the College will ask to reinvest resources previously dedicated to the Venues, Athletics, and the ECL to balance its budget and expand the number of students served as follows: 

  1. Impacting approximately 63,000 students annually: Improve the academic advisor to student ratio, taking it from approximately 700:1 to 350:1, a best in class standard. This began with the immediate hiring of 15 academic advisors who will begin in July 2020. If approved, the College would also create 15 additional academic advisor positions this coming year. Academic advising plays a critical role in student persistence, retention, and completion. The estimated cost per student is $34. 

  2. Impacting approximately 9,750 students annually: Implement embedded tutoring in approximately 350 sections of courses with the highest failure rates. Students will benefit from additional in-class academic support to improve course completion and ultimately graduation rates. The estimated cost per student is $15.

  3. Impacting approximately 33,500 students annually: Engage in evidence-based work to eliminate barriers to student equity, specifically looking at outcomes by race, ethnicity, income and age. The aim is to close persistent equity gaps through enhanced training, tools, and regional collaborations to improve graduation rates, as well as transfer and job placement for all students. The estimated cost per student is $6.

  4. Impacting approximately 2,700 students annually: Establish food pantries on each campus to significantly address known food insecurities within the student population. In the 2020 Student Climate Survey, 28 percent of respondents said they were often or sometimes worried that food would run out for themselves or their household before they had money to buy more. Through on-campus food pantries, The College will collaborate with local organizations for supplies and eliminate the need for students to travel off-campus for these services. The estimated cost per student is $21.

In addition, the College plans to post and hire, at a minimum, six full-time faculty positions in the fall term to support unmet instructional needs.

The recommendations include 36 new positions for full-time academic advisors and faculty. Unfortunately, as a result of the recommendation for the repurposing of resources to achieve greater impact, 37 full-time employees would be subject to a reduction in force (6-ECL, 13-Venues, 14-faculty counselors, and 4 Athletics) and 95 part-time employees (3-ECL, 72-Venues, and 20 Athletics) would be subject to termination.

Broward College values its employees and will treat the affected employees with the utmost compassion and work with them to provide support in their transition. The College also recognizes the disappointment felt by its student athletes. If the budget recommendation is approved, the College would continue to support our scholarship athletes for an additional year if they choose to continue their education at Broward College. For those seeking to continue as student athletes elsewhere, the budget recommendation includes the retention of the Athletic Director for one year and the AD will use that time in part, to assist student athletes seeking to play sports at another institution.

“I know that we will come through this prioritization process focused on ensuring the greatest impacts and outcomes,” said Broward College President, Gregory Adam Haile, J.D. “Though difficult, these decisions reflect a focus on maximizing our capacity to transform lives, and enhance our community. It is not enough just to know that our minority students and low-income students underperform compared to their counterparts, or just to know that we do not have enough advisors to maximize the outcomes for our students. We must make material investments to close the gaps. Whether our students are well-resourced or not, whether they show up to us academically prepared or not, we must focus on the success of every student, and pursue academic excellence for every student. All of them.”

While the College would expect to restart some components of its Venues operations in a post COVID-19 environment, it does not expect a revival of a College operated early childhood center or any athletics programs.

ABOUT BROWARD COLLEGE:

Serving more than 63,000 students annually, Broward College provides residents with certificate programs, two-year university-transfer degrees, two-year career degrees and baccalaureate degrees in selected programs. The mission of the college is to provide high-quality educational programs and services that are affordable and accessible to a diverse community of learners. For more information, visit www.broward.edu