Administrators at Barton Community College plan to ask the BCC Board of Trustees to increase student fees by $4 per credit hour for the fall semester.
Dean of Administration Mark Dean told board members on Tuesday that most of the other 18 Kansas community colleges will also see their rates increase about $7 per credit hour next year.
The proposed fee increase should bring in about $90,000 in additional revenue.
“It’s unfortunate that we have to come to you to recommend another increase,” Barton President Dr. Carl Heilman said.
A decade ago, Barton students paid roughly one-third of the college’s budget. Another third came from state aid and a third came from local tax dollars.
“That hasn’t been happening in a number of years,” Dean said. More of the burden has shifted to students as state aid has been cut and lower valuations have brought in fewer tax dollars.
“Our only other revenue source is students.”
This year, tuition and fees account for 43.2 percent of BCC’s revenue, 26.3 percent comes from local taxes and 25.3 percent comes from state aid. Other taxes and revenue make up the remainder.
Competing for students
Meanwhile, other community colleges, four-year colleges and technical schools have become more competitive in recruiting students.
It isn’t just to bring in more tuition. The Kansas Board of Regents (KBOR) Foresight 2020 plan mandates that higher learning institutions increase the number of degrees and certificates awarded by 2020. Because the number of Kansas students available is finite, schools often try to entice students away from other institutions, rather than actually increase the number of graduates statewide.
Competing for state aid
Technical schools receive state aid for all of their students, including those from other states, Dean said. Community colleges don’t get that advantage.
Mike Johnson, chairman of the BCC Board of Trustees, said the Legislature may be asked to change that. Blake Flanders, KBOR president and chief executive, supports allowing colleges to receive credit for their out-of-state students.
However, that wouldn’t mean more money for the college if the overall pool of funding isn’t increased, Dean noted.
In spite of that, BCC plans to recruit more out-of-state students.
“If we bring them here, those are dollars that would (otherwise) be in another state,” Dean said. That is good for the state and local economy, as well as the college’s revenue.
Bringing in too many students would increase expenses as well as revenue because more teachers would be needed. But on-campus enrollment has been declining, so bringing in some students would not require more teachers, Dean of Institutional Effectiveness Charles Perkins said. “We have a lot of empty classroom seats.”
Heilman confirmed the decline in students on the BCC campus. “This is about the fourth year in a row this campus’s population has gone down,” he said.
“I do believe that we will see enrollment turn around next year,” Dean said. For that reason, older student housing units are being remodeled to add 42 beds next year.