By Jessica LeDuc
Blade staff writer
In an effort to make up an anticipated budget shortfall, the Cloud County Community College board of trustees approved Tuesday a $1 per credit hour tuition increase for the 2013-2014 school year.
At the recommendation of Vice President for Administrative Services Bob Maxson, the board approved the tuition hike, as well as $2 per hour increases for registration fees and technology fees. Also approved was a $2 per credit hour increase for the Geary County campus to help pay for the new science building, and a $25 per course increase for online classes.
Maxson said he does not anticipate any increases in state aid, as well as a minimum of two-percent decrease in state revenue to the college. Each one of those represents a $44,000 drop in revenues the college will see.
"That has to be made up, either in spending cuts or tuition increases," Maxson said.
At the February meeting, Maxson said he had requested a one-percent budget cut for all departments because of declining enrollment.
"We do expect enrollment to decline a bit‚ not major ‚ but decline, thus we won't have the increased revenues from enrollment," he said.
Maxson said that even with the tuition increase, Cloud will still be affordable, especially when compared to four-year universities.
"One of our goals is to be half the price of K-State, and we're well below that," he said.
Trustee Dave Clemons said he fears the online increase will discourage people from taking those courses.
Maxson said when compared to other online course offerings, Cloud's higher rate is still very competitive.
"It's still going to be a very inexpensive option as far as online classes go," he said. "On the other side, it's a significant tuition increase and fee increase, but it will assist us in getting toward a balanced budget."
"I think we need to tighten up our belts and get rid of waste," Clemons said. "The higher our rates go, the less attractive our school is. I feel like we're pushing a certain number of students away from us, We need to look at making cuts instead of consistently asking for more from our students and taxpayers."
College President Danette Toone said she fully intends to have to cut at least $200,000 from next year's budget because of state aid decreases.
"We're making a very concerted effort to tighten our belts," she said.
The tuition and fee increases were approved on a 4-1 vote, with Clemons casting the dissenting vote.
The board also lent its approval to a new mass communications degree program.
Toone said Marc Malone and Jamie Durler and an advisory committee have spent the last year working on the new program. With the retirement last year of John Chapin, instructor of the radio broadcasting program, she said it gave staff the opportunity to look at the college's radio and journalism degrees.
The revision to the college's current radio broadcasting and journalism degrees and certificates have created a new mass communications degree track. The program will provide students with the principles of convergent media, and provide hands-on experience in working in print, audio, visual, web, and social media.
Toone said in order for the program to move toward approval by the Board of Regents, it first requires approval by the college board.
The board also granted emeritus status to recently retired instructor Lou Frohardt. Each year, the board is asked to consider retired faculty and administrators for the title of emeritus, which means retired with merit. The honor is reserved for those who have given more than 20 years of service to the college. Frohardt had been an instructor at the college since October 1967.
"If anyone was ever entitled to emeritus status, it's Lou Frohardt," said board member Tom Tuggle.
The board also accepted a retirement request from another longtime instructor, Everett Miller.
Miller, an instructor of music, has been employed at the college since its inception, having taught since February 1965.
"Obviously, I've liked it here, or I wouldn't have stayed," Miller said jokingly.
He said this year actually marks his 54th year of teaching, having been at Bison, Great Bend and Concordia High School prior to his tenure at Cloud.
The board authorized the administration to fill his position, and also accepted the retirement/resignation of Lorin Miller, assistant women's basketball coach.