VERMONT-When Lyndon and Johnson State Colleges complete their formation into Northern Vermont University in 2018, the funding has been approved to ensure a secure and stable transition. However, once the newly-founded NVU is up and running, there are still some further financial hurdles that both campuses will have to jump over in order to be in the clear.
According to interim Lyndon State President Nolan Atkins, for the first year of operations NVU has been allotted a one-time fund of $770,000 by the state to help handle the unification, with the budget also including a second-year allotment of $880,000 of any addition costs that come with the school merge. Finally, the House Appropriations Committee has provided assistance for NVU with a 2 million dollar Vermont State Colleges budget to increase their base appropriations, but Atkins believes it is not enough.
“If we get two million, that’s great news, that’s helpful. But it won’t completely eliminate the deficit within the Vermont State Colleges system,” Atkins says.
Originally, Atkins, alongside VSC Chancellor Jeb Spaulding, pushed for a budget of 4 million between the Vermont State College system, in order to have a balanced budget with no deficit. This amount was further supported by Governor Phil Scott in his budget address, but the amount was eventually cut in half, according to Atkins.
The VSC budget is currently in the Senate Appropriations Committee, and Atkins is unclear with the direction it will go from there.
“We’re waiting what the Senate Appropriations Committee says in terms of whether or not there will be an increase to our base appropriations, and that’s completely different from the unification,” Atkins explains.
A second concern is the different in culture between Lyndon and Johnson State. With the merging of two colleges, Atkins acknowledges how some may believe that neither college with have a sense of individualism compare to their other half.
“We need two distinct campuses,” Atkins says, “However, we also need to come together as one university, and actually both campuses are more similar than they’re different. When I interviewed for the provost position, when you talked to people on both campuses what’s similar and what’s different, there’s actually more similar.”
The unification will be complete on July 1, 2018. For more information regarding Northern Vermont University, click here.