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Locals get break on BCC tuiton hike
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Tuition at Barton Community College will increase by $3 per credit hour this fall, but Barton County residents will receive a $3 per credit scholarship to offset the increase.

The college’s board of trustees approved new tuition rates when it met Thursday. Each credit for Kansas residents will now cost $57, but Barton County residents will end up paying only $54 after the scholarship, according to Dean of Administration Mark Dean.

Barton President Dr. Carl Heilman said other Kansas community colleges are also expected to increase their tuition this year. Recent tuition increases haven’t slowed enrollment growth at Barton.

"We provide a quality product," Heilman said, adding the cost per credit is much lower at Barton than at the state universities. The college does try to stay in the top one-half to one-third for tuition rates when compared to other community colleges.

Trustee Mike Johnson first suggested a price break for Barton County residents at an earlier board study session. Some of the other colleges have that.

"This is an appropriate way to do it," Heilman said, adding it recognizes that taxpayer in the 17 counties with community colleges, such as Barton, carry part of the funding load for students in all counties who attend them.

Johnson said the tuition break could grow in the future. As for the tuition increase, it should bring close to $200,000 more revenue to the college next year. "It’s fair," Johnson said of the increase, which will apply to all types of students, including online students. He said the college tries to balance its income so that roughly one-third comes from local tax dollars, one-third from state aid, and one-third from tuition.

Clean audit

Trustees also heard an audit report Thursday, and approved the audit for the fiscal year ending June 30, 2010.

Douglas Volkland, accountant with McMillen Folkerts & Associates PA, reported there were no reportable problems, and each of three reports was "without qualification," which is the most desirable outcome in an audit.

Describing the most notable fiscal changes at the college, Volkland said federal expenditures, which are usually $3-$3.5 million, were over $9 million. This was because more people qualified for Pell Grants to attend college, and because the government now guarantees direct payment loan for college. Direct loans increased from $450,000 to $4.5 million.

There was also a pass-through of nearly $1 million from the college Foundation last March, when it made the final balloon payment on the Shafer Gallery.

In action items Thursday, the board approved the audit and the following new personnel: Karla Givens, enrollment clerk and receptionist at the Fort Riley area; and on the Barton campus: Krystall Barnes, workforce development training coordinator; Adeline Huskey, FA helpdesk; Jennifer Wortham, secretary; and William Spece, Barton County Upward Bound tutor, part-time.