2B.4: Support for Educational Programs and Services
In the current economic climate, Sauk strives to maintain adequate resources to fulfill its Mission and to take advantage of opportunities to strengthen the quality of its educational programs and services. Sauk has practiced sound fiscal management to safeguard the quality of its educational offerings. Its diligence has helped the college continue to provide quality learning experiences for students despite the recent economic downturn and the state’s deteriorating financial situation.
The college practices the important components of sound fiscal management:
Monitor fiscal resources: The Dean of Business Services provides a monthly budget report to the Board of Trustees and periodically prepares multi-year revenue and expense projections for the Board of Trustees, PC, and OPIC. In addition, Sauk complies with all state statues and requirements for preparing, publicizing, and submitting budgets to the ICCB. Five-year financial data is provided to areas when they conduct their program reviews so they can evaluate the programs’ financial effectiveness.
Link planning to budget: Another important element in financial planning is to link strategic planning to the allocation of funds. Department heads submit requests after gathering input from personnel across their respective departments and from their Operational Plans. After identifying equipment, supply, personnel, and facility needs, they complete the required forms to initiate action. The internal budgeting process has been successfully conducted for years. The budgeting process was enhanced in FY09 when a mechanism for forwarding budget requests originating from program reviews into the budgeting process was implemented.
Cultivate funding sources: To ensure quality educational support and programs, the college makes use of funding opportunities to the greatest extent possible. Several sources exist:
Funding bonds: Sauk uses funding bonds in accordance with state statutes to purchase equipment and technology and to make facility upgrades during a multi-year period. It repays the bonds through a tax levy. Sauk has used funding bonds several times and only issues new bonds when old ones come due to maintain level taxation. In July 2007, Sauk issued bonds for $3.6 million and in July 2010, issued bonds totaling $6.8 million.
Partnerships: Some of Sauk’s partnerships with outside agencies result in the sharing of revenues and expenses to create cost-effective advantages. One such example is the NIOIN partnership with other community colleges and local hospitals, which spreads the costs and risks among the partners.
Grant funds: Sauk researches grant opportunities from State, Federal and local sources. The Director of Foundation and Grants assists with writing and submitting grant proposals on an as-needed basis. Sauk obtained close to $4 million of the nearly $6 million in competitive grants for which it applied during the five year period, FY06 – FY10. While grants account for a relatively small portion of the college’s total funding, they have been instrumental to expanding programs and services. For example, the college’s Student Support Services is funded by a federal TRIO grant, allowing Sauk to provide a range of services, including personal development, tutoring, and counseling, for 200 first-generation, disabled, or low-income students each year.
Community support: The Sauk Valley College Foundation has raised funds to provide support that benefits students and the institution since 1965. Private donors have funded numerous scholarships, most of which are stipulated for specific uses. Revenues not designated for scholarships may be used for special projects. The Foundation has provided nearly $1.3 million for scholarships and project funding since FY06 (see Figure 2ii), including the following examples:
Figure 2ii: Foundation Support
5 yr total
Awards & other support
Source: Sauk Valley College Foundation *Donor-designated scholarships no longer included, per IRS charitable contribution rules.
Scholarships: The Foundation provides an annual average of over $160,000 in student scholarships.
Support for campus projects: In 2009, the Foundation presented the College with $70,000 to fund its new Wind Energy Programs. In addition, it regularly co-sponsors events with clubs and departments. For example, the Foundation partnered with the Criminal Justice Club to present a 9/11 Thank You Breakfast for local police, firefighters, and EMT personnel; and brought in an FBI Agent who protected President George W. Bush to speak to students and the community.
Student housing, the Sauk Commons, opened in the fall of 2005 on land adjacent to the campus to the east. The Commons offers students the option of two- and four-bedroom apartments within walking distance to the college. After years of work by the college and the Sauk Valley College Foundation to find a project developer, the Foundation formed a limited liability corporation to own the facility because Illinois community colleges cannot own housing facilities. The Sauk Valley Student Housing LLC hired a student housing management firm to operate the facility. Occupancy rates did not meet projections and the facility quickly fell into financial difficulties as the local economy took a downturn. When it became apparent that the project had been based on flawed financial projections, the LLC began to investigate liquidation options. The Foundation ceased its fundraising efforts to prevent undesignated donations by the community from being claimed to support the Commons. In 2011, the LLC declared bankruptcy. As this report is being finalized, the legal issues have not yet been resolved; however, a buyer is being sought for the Commons who will maintain it as student housing.