Soon the NEO experience could be different for future Norseman planning to live on campus like freshman John Barger.
He says "I was far enough away from home that I could grow up a little bit but I was close enough if I needed to I could get home."
But soon he and other students could be homeless if future state cuts to the school budget come down the pipeline.
"This next year if it was gone, I'd have to drive three hours or find housing within Miami. That would be kind of hard to do if everyone was looking for housing in Miami."
NEO Vice President of Fiscal Affairs Mark Rasor says "We knew that there were additional budget cuts coming but we didn't know how severe they would be. And the big problem is we don't know how many more are coming."
In the past eight months NEO has lost more than one million dollars in state aid, forcing the school to suspend this quarter's budget.
Administrators are worried future cuts expected this summer and possibly next year could fundamentally change the way the school has run for the past century.
"It's very possible that NEO could become a true community college, no housing, no food service, no athletic teams. Students simply drive in, spend the day going to school and then go home."
Losing popular programs from areas like athletics or the agriculture department could drop the student body from 2,200 in half. The Agricultural Department is one of the main reasons students like Barger chose to go to NEO.
Barger says "I'm worried about everybody's education. The more money you have the better education, the better tools, the better equipment you're going to have whatever it might be. Without that everybody's going to be affected somewhat, some more than others."
Administrators are also looking at raising tuition by 10%, cutting employee benefits and possibly laying off employees down the line if this year’s cuts are inherited again next year. When the first wave of cuts hit schools this school year NEO cut 14 full time staff positions back in July.
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