The 2013-2014 operating budget for Lower Columbia College is now in place, and students will be pleased to know that there is NO tuition increase planned in the coming year. College officials say that the $23.46 million budget reflects a modest 5.6 percent increase in funding over the previous year; LCC will be getting just over $11 million in state appropriations, which also include the restoration of nearly 300 thousand dollars that was cut from the 2012-2013 budget. That was part of a state-mandated reduction in funding for state employees. The remainder of the operating funds come from tuition, local funds, reserves and carry-over from the previous year. LCC plans to spend $2.4 million to cover debt payments on the new Health and Science Building; they also plan to restore eight tenure-track faculty positions, casualties from cuts that were made over the past few years. LCC President Chris Bailey says that they’re pleased to be able to restore these positions, especially with no tuition increase. The college is projecting 2,900 full-time equivalent students, down two percent from last year, but still 13 percent above the state-funded budget.