The Joliet Junior College Board of Trustees approved the school’s nearly $100 million fiscal 2021 budget.
The board approved the budget at its June 24 meeting. JJC’s total operating budget for fiscal 2021 is $99.53 million, a 1.7% increase over the 2020 budget, according to a news release.
JJC President Judy Mitchell noted in the release that the COVID-19 pandemic came about during the final stages of the college’s development of its budget. She said the crisis presented challenges the college and nation had never experienced before.
“With no blueprint to follow and information changing daily, I am proud of the foundation we have built to support the college and the work we will continue to do as we enter FY21 to drive JJC into its 120th year,” Mitchell said in the release.
JJC said the next fiscal year will be the 48th consecutive in which it has passed a balanced budget. The college said it is keeping tuition and health care costs flat.
Tuition, state funding and property taxes make up about 98% of JJC’s operating revenues. In a draft budget published earlier this year, JJC officials outlined their uncertainty about expected revenues for the coming year as measures taken to combat the pandemic devastated the nation’s economy.
Even with the uncertainty, Mitchell has argued there was reason for optimism that JJC will remain on financially stable ground.
“While much seems unknown at this point, I want to reemphasize the critical role community colleges play to support the changing needs of the local economy and workforce, which has been impacted significantly by the pandemic,” she said in the release.
Specifically, Mitchell has said the economic uncertainty may be cause for many area students to choose to attend community college instead of a four-year university this fall. In its draft budget earlier this year, JJC said much of its fiscal uncertainty will be based on its enrollment numbers.
Mitchell has also detailed the measures JJC is taking to ensure social distancing to prevent the spread of the novel coronavirus. The college announced in May it would hold most of its classes for the fall semester online with limited in-person instruction.
Still, Mitchell expressed confidence that JJC would get through this difficult period as it has through previous challenges.
“We have continued to drive innovation in the classroom and in our support services,” Mitchell said in the release. “We do not rest in tradition or history, we drive innovation and support your success.”