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College to financially incentivize a return to campus

The Colorado Mountain College Board of Trustees held a regularly scheduled work session and meeting via Zoom on March 23.

During the pre-meeting work session, trustees reviewed a preliminary report on capital planning. Mary Boyd, CMC vice president of fiscal affairs, shared conceptual drafts regarding building additions for academic programs including space for new nursing simulation labs. Because housing shortages have become ever more pronounced in the high-cost mountain communities where CMC has campuses, the board also discussed investments in student housing in several potential locations.

Joining the board for the virtual meeting and a Q/A session was Dr. Angie Paccione, executive director of the Colorado Department of Higher Education. Paccione is familiar to the CMC community having served as a keynote speaker at two of the college’s commencement ceremonies.

What’s the fall going to look like?

Now that local, state and national health officials are projecting a more positive outlook for the fall regarding COVID-19, CMC is beginning to carefully plan to return to a more normal student experience.

As the college’s enrollment team answers inquiries from prospective students about CMC, there’s a central focus, according to Shane Larson, CMC vice president of student affairs.

“’They ask, ‘What’s the fall going to look like?” Larson said. “That’s one of the main questions we’re answering.” The college has launched a web page that highlights some of the changes for fall at https://coloradomtn.edu/open.

To incentivize early commitments for the college’s residence halls, trustees approved a $500 discount per student for on-campus housing costs for the 2021-22 academic year. To receive the discount, students must submit their housing applications and deposits by May 1. The date coincides with National College Decision Day when prospective students are encouraged to decide where they’ll attend school in the fall. The discounts will apply to student housing at the college’s three residential campuses at Spring Valley at Glenwood Springs, Steamboat Springs and Leadville.

A bright outlook

According to Boyd, Moody’s Investors Service recently confirmed that the nation’s higher education sector has improved its ranking from “negative” during the pandemic slowdown in 2020 to “stable” today. Boyd noted that colleges and universities are expected to improve their revenue prospects over the next 12-18 months. CMC’s financial rating remains strong with an Aa3 rating.

Trustees also unanimously approved:

  • A contract to complete remodeling at CMC Spring Valley’s Sopris Hall
  • An engagement for the required independent audit of the college’s financials and controls for 2020-21
  • Two sabbatical requests for the 2021-22 academic year
  • Trustee board meeting dates for the 2021-22 academic year
  • Fencing for the Leadville campus’s Get Outdoors Leadville! gear library building
  • A USDA Rural Bridge Development Grant