Over the last several weeks Glen Oaks Community College has been surveying the county citizens about the possibility of seeking a capital millage to help support the much needed campus renovations. One very important question has been asked by many survey respondents. “Why did the college build the housing project if they needed funds for campus repairs and renovations?”
It is easy to understand this question when one does not realize the details of the funding model used for the project. The project was funded with a $6.5 million dollar USDA Rural Development loan at 2.375 percent for 30 years. This loan is offered by the USDA to help rural community colleges advance their mission.
The whole project is a revenue center for itself from rental fees collected. In fact, if it is at least 78 percent full (80 of the 106 beds) it breaks even and with any additional rentals it makes money. While making revenue is not the most important goal of the housing, it helped to make the project decision.
The most significant reasons for creating the housing on campus are very convincing once they are fully understood. These include:
- The housing provides for a safe and excellent on-campus experience for students.
- It makes it possible to create “niche” academic programs that attract students from across the greater region. An example is the “Ag Equipment Technology” degree launched this past year which is serving students from all of Michigan, northern Indiana, and Ohio. Additional such programs are being developed.
- The housing creates a much more “campus life” experience for all GOCC students with students being on campus 24-7.
- The project helps the college compete with several other institutions in the region who offer housing.
- The housing helps increase enrollment in the face of declining K-12 graduates and the fact that most of our area potential non-traditional students are choosing not to attend at this time. The additional 100 students the college would not have attracted or potentially produce $600,000 in housing fees and $275,000 in tuition and fees.
Hopefully, one now sees how the GOCC housing helps the college position itself for greater success going into its second fifty-years of service.