tributes to the vision and mission of the
college and whether it is cost-effective.
Some units, such as counseling or the
business office, will likely never be
self-supporting; they are nevertheless
critical to the vision and mission of the
organization. Many other departments,
such as corporate and continuing
education, should be held accountable
for producing self-supporting revenue.
At CPCC, our Allied Health programs
are the most costly and typically run
deep into the red, but they are important to the welfare of our community.
To prevent cost challenges, we actively
partner with local hospitals to supplement high-cost programs. Our theaters
almost never break even. We have addressed this by creating an endowment
to support annual shortfalls.
We lose thousands of students each
year when they apply for Pell Grants,
but fail to be awarded one. Nothing
should stop us from raising private
funds to endow scholarships. CPCC’s
enrollments jumped 12 percent per year
the past three years. We began to turn
away thousands of paying students
because we didn’t have enough money
to hire more part-time instructors.
We solved this problem by raising
$600,000 in private donations for class
sponsorships this year. If we need a
piano or a new robotic arm, we seek a
donation, write a grant, or raise private
money to purchase it.
We have a separate 501(c) 3 fee-for-service corporation that allows us to
earn additional revenue and creates
entrepreneurs among our faculty and
staff. We consider our foundation and
institutional advancement staff to be
the best in the business, and we have
exceeded our annual fundraising goals.
All of this is not to suggest that we
should in any way abandon or ignore
tax-based funding. Indeed, now is the
time to convince policymakers at every
level that funding these fine colleges is
an investment in the economic future
of our cities, states, and nation. Congress is still awarding special appropria-
tions; state leaders can still be convinced
of our value, especially in these trying
times. In North Carolina, Gov. Bev
Perdue recently rescinded 2 percent
of a 6 percent budget reversion.
Astute and insightful CEOs understand that the greatest asset within their
organization is the collective intellectual
capital of their employees. Engaging
them in the acquisition of new revenue
in its most efficient use is the key to
success. The critical test for community and technical college presidents at
this time is whether we will make the
necessary changes in thinking and in the
operation of our colleges that guarantee
the delivery of quality learning. If we
resolve to loose the bondage that comes
with an entitlement mentality, engage
in sensible cost efficiencies, and become
more entrepreneurial, our students, our
employees, and our communities will
Tony Zeiss is president of Central Piedmont
Community College in Charlotte, N.C.
Start Here. Go Anywhere.
Borough of Manhattan Community College
BMCC IS NY