For the past five years, Barton Community College invited high school students (and a few eighth graders) to attend a Career Technical Education (CTE) Fair in the Case New Holland Shop on campus. For this, the program’s sixth year, the college has created a virtual fair, said Dr. Kathy Kottas, dean of Barton’s Workforce Training department.
“As we know, the world changed,” Kottas said. The virtual fair was created in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.
The first CTE fair in 2016 drew over 200 participants and it has become increasingly popular. Last year about 690 students, counselors and chaperones came for the fair, which featured demonstrations and hands-on activities, as well as refreshments, prizes and photo ops with Bart, the BCC mascot.
Kottas told BCC trustees Tuesday that the 2021 virtual fair had been “live” for a week.
“We do plan to do a new launch again next week, with new information. We’ve had good interest the first week and hope it continues,” she said.
Karly Little, who chairs the event, said visitors enter the fair via a web page called the “lobby” and are introduced to 23 CTE programs, including agriculture, health care and welding.
There is information about admission to the college, a virtual tour of the campus and a “prize central” page where visitors can complete surveys and win prizes.
“We’ve had dozens of people submit content,” including videos, Little said.
“I’m seeing a lot of engagement from out of our service area as well,” Little said. “We’re seeing pockets of students from across the state.”
No registration, account set-up or sign-in is required to enter the virtual fair. It can be found online at https://www.bartonccc.edu/highschool/cte-fair.
No tuition hike recommended
The career fair was one of several topics presented to the BCC Board of Trustees at its monthly study session this past Tuesday. Vice President of Administration Mark Dean gave his annual report on tuition and fees, comparing Barton’s tuition to that at the state’s other 18 community colleges.
“I don’t expect institutions will increase their tuition and fees this year, because of COVID,” Dean said.
Barton President Dr. Carl Heilman said tuition will be on a future agenda for board action be he expects the administration will recommend holding tuition at the current rate.
Barton’s in-district tuition and fees are $111 per credit hour, while Barton’s online tuition and fees are $150 per credit hour. The highest tuition is charged to international students, who pay $205.
Students also pay individual course fees in some cases. These may include items the students take with them, such as uniforms, lab kits and tools, as well as certification test fees, specialized insurance, subscriptions to services, and consumables – such as metal used in a welding class.
Earlier in the meeting, during his monthly financial report, Dean noted that revenue from tuition is down from one year ago. Cash reserves are down about $1 million due to accounts receivable for tuition.
“We started school later due to COVID,” Dean said. “Because we started later this year, financial aid did not pay out until February. So it’s now lower. This will reverse itself come February.”
In another report given at the study session, Hoisington City Manager Jonathan Mitchell spoke about the City of Hoisington Neighborhood Revitalization Plan, which trustees will be asked to approve at the next regular meeting. This is similar to previous plans and has now been approved by the Hoisington City Council, Hoisington USD 431 School Board and the Barton County Commission.