An attempt to make college more fordable for students
Butler Community College Trustees approved not raising tuition rates for the next year during their meeting Tuesday evening in an attempt to make college more fordable for students.
“We're recommending no change in the current tuition and fees along with an increase in marketing for next year,” said Vice President for Finance Kent Williams.
“Along with what was spoken about in the last meeting about the neutral housing and meal plan options, we also want to increase marketing,” explained President Dr. Kim Krull. “We hope to try to increase our enrollment. This plan doesn't tie us into multi-year plan and it will allow us some feedback from our students and their families. This along with a residence hall and meal rates, it should be very good for our students.”
The lack of a raise in tuition will not just be good news for current students.
“It's a big deal to freeze tuition because we know there are many students that teeter on whether they can or cannot come to college,” commented Trustee Tom McKibban.
“If we're going to freeze the tuition rates, let's tell everybody,” said Trustee Jim Wilson. “Why not shout it from the mountains?”
“By freezing the tuition, we can harp on trying to get an education despite the economic times,” suggested Trustee Candace Kunkel.
The rates may allow the college to increase their enrollment numbers for the 2014-2015 school year.
“The affordability is a big deal,” added Vice President for Student Services Bill Rinkenbaugh. “When I was working at a small private college, we not only held tuition, we reduced it and we saw a drastic increase in enrollments. We've held tuition and we're making it affordable for our students. This is a quality program and even Wichita State's rates are going to go up. To keep it affordable will resonate greatly with both parents and students.”
“The whole idea is this will not only be a good education, but also a bargain,” said Trustee Jim Howell.
Wilson moved and the motion was carried 6-0.
With the approval of the steady rate fee for the college behind them, several representatives from the EduCare Learning Lab talked to the Trustees.
“We are a relatively new department,” began EduCare Supervisor Anita Mills. “EduCare provides a learning lab. We have approximately 40 students using the EduCare Learning Lab this semester and our department was responsible for 1,600 credit hours last year. We have 18 students on campus that currently have children in our EduCare facility. Without this potential opportunity, these are students that might not be here at Butler, so we are very happy to facilitate them.”
The facility has been working with the students at the college to help provide quality childcare as well as a place for future teachers to interact with children.
“We have learned that children who are enrolled in quality, curriculum based childcare are better prepared when they enter into a more formal education classroom,” Mills said. “These are also potential future students here at Butler. We are currently working to support our clinical learning lab for early childhood education with EduCare.”
The goal of the meeting was to further discuss ways to get the word out about the EduCare facility.
“We plan to increase our advertising for this service,” said Mills. “We are currently the campus's best kept secret, but we don't want to be a secret anymore. If we can get our enrollment back up to 106 students, it is going to make a tremendous difference.”
The program will have some stipulations for its new enrollees.
“We are currently working on having all of our community families move into a full-time status,” explained Mills. “This is very common on the daycare circuit. They will have to commit to their children attending five days a week if they want to keep their spot. We won't want to lose a four-day person, so we will evaluate all these families on a case-by-case basis, but we will be offering less of a part-time status to community families.”
The discussion of the possible rate increases for the center were also a topic for discussion.
“Aren't you concerned that you will lose families if the rate is increased?” asked Wilson.
“We have found most families, if the rate increase is insignificant such as $0.50 or $0.75 will not take any action,” explained Budget Analyst for EduCare Galen Evans. “We will not lose those families for such a small amount.”
The board did not take action on the rate increase, but will further discuss the matter at the next meeting.
The trustees also accepted the resignation of Roger Neifert, director of Facilities Management.
“He has been with us for three years,” Krull said. “When he first came to us, he had an extensive background with the hospital. He has a great staff and he is always positive and he is always encouraging. We're really going to miss him.”
“With regret, we accept your resignation,” said Trustee Ron Eglebrecht.
The Trustees also:
• presented recognitions to all involved with Project SEARCH, Coca-Cola Scholarship Awards, Phi Theta Kappa Kansas Region Awards, 2014 Kansas Association of Broadcasters Awards, all involved with A Vintage Evening, and National Council for Marketing and Public Relations.
• approved a modified operating budget.
• approved the Department of Labor TAACCCT External Evaluation.