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Kansas may consider more tuition-free courses
Five classes proposed for free tuition

The Kansas Legislature is looking at a plan for colleges and high schools to provide concurrent credit in five classes with no tuition charge to the students.
Five three-hour courses are being identified for this proposed program: English Composition I, English Composition II, Public Speaking, Psychology and College Algebra, said Barton Community College Director of Public Relations Brandon Steinert. The draft recommendation being considered by the Kansas Board of Regents and Council of Presidents calls for colleges to be reimbursed by the school districts at a rate of $172 per credit hour.
“This is all still preliminary, but that’s what’s on the table at the moment,” Steinert told the Great Bend Tribune on Wednesday.
BCC Vice President of Administration Mark Dean said it isn’t clear whether the reimbursement would include textbook costs.
“The proposal is basically neutral for us,” Dean said. “Students currently pay $108 per credit hour. We then receive approximately $70 per hour in calculated state aid. The student also pays for their book. So, while the proposal does not match the revenue we currently receive, the reduction is not significant enough to oppose the plan.”

When the plan was discussed at Tuesday’s BCC Board of Trustees meeting, trustees learned that Kansas Senator Molly Baumgardner (R-Louisburg), chairman of the Senate Education Committee, is a former member of the Johnson County Community College Board of Trustees. While that should be reassuring, BCC Board Chairman Mike Johnson said he isn’t convinced that all community colleges will be able to afford what is being proposed. (Trustees were told the college might get $172 per course, which is only one-third of the $172 per hour now being proposed.)
“This could be the biggest thing to impact community colleges,” Johnson said. “There are a lot of moving pieces I don’t believe the Legislature really understands.”

Concurrent enrollment
At present, a Great Bend High School student who enrolls in the college algebra course taught by Tina Hiss can earn high school credit and can also earn three credit hours at Barton Community College, but the student must pay the tuition. Concurrent Enrollment Partnerships (CEPs) between postsecondary institutions and school districts are common; BCC has programs at Central Plans, Chase, Ellinwood, Ellsworth, Great Bend, Hays, Hoisington, La Crosse, Larned, Lyons, Otis-Bison, Pawnee Heights, Russell, St. John and Wilson high schools.