BRANCHBURG, NJ — The Board of School Estimate has approved Raritan Valley Community College’s $53.1 million operating budget for 2017, with a tution increase of $180 for full-time students and $72 for part-time students.

The budget includes a $6 increase in tuition for Somerset and Hunterdon county residents, to $143 per credit for the fall 2016 Semester. For the average full-time student taking 30 credits during the academic year, tuition would increase by $180. For the average part-time student taking 12 credits during the academic year, tuition would increase by $72.

“We are deeply grateful to the counties of Somerset and Hunterdon for enhancing their support of Raritan Valley Community College, especially at a time when the counties are facing their own financial challenges. Their ongoing support enables us to keep the cost of a college education within reach for our students, many of whom are the first in their family to attend college,” said RVCC President Michael J. McDonough.

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The new budget — which represents a 3.8 percent increase over last year — includes $500,000 in savings through employee retirements and attrition. The major increase in the budget is because of contractual increases in employee healthcare and other benefits.

The budget is based on a projected decrease in enrollment because of a decline in the size of local high school graduating classes.

The board also approved a $3.2 million major capital budget and a $750,000 minor capital budget. Some of the major components of the capital budget include:

- $600,000 for the Workforce Training Center
- $550,000 for renovating the college’s upper walkways and plaza areas
- $450,000 for expanding the visitors parking lot
- $400,000 for replacing the main computer server

Under the approved operating budget, funding will come from the following sources:

Tuition and fees, 62.6 percent; state of New Jersey, 11.5 percent; Somerset and Hunterdon counties, 25.4 percent; other, such as investments and rental income, .5 percent.

The Board of School Estimate is a six-member board composed of freeholders from Somerset and Hunterdon counties, as well as RVCC trustees, and is responsible for approving the college’s budget.

The board is composed of Hunterdon County Freeholder Director Suzanne Lagay, Hunterdon County Freeholder John King, Somerset County Freeholder Director Patricia Walsh, Somerset County Freeholder Brian Levine, RVCC Board of Trustees Member Paul Hirsch, and RVCC Board of Trustees Chair Robert Wise.

Raritan Valley Community College’s main campus is located at 118 Lamington Road here.