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For the first time in six years, the East Central College Board of Trustees approved a tuition increase.  The new rate will be effective for the 2011 fall semester.

At their March 7 meeting the board voted unanimously to increase in-district tuition to $66 per credit hour, a $5 increase.  Out-of-district students will pay $94 per credit hour which is $7 more than the current rate.  Tuition for out-of-state students will increase $10 per credit hour to $141, while the tuition rate for international students climbs $11 per credit hour to $152.  General fees will remain unchanged at $10 per credit hour.  That $10 is broken down into $2.50 for support services, $3 for technology and $4.50 for student activities.

“For a full-time, in-district student taking 30 credit hours a year, the increase will mean an additional cost of $150,” said Dr. Jon Bauer, vice president for finance and administration. “An out-of-district student will pay an additional $210 if enrolled in 30 credit hours for the academic year.” 

“ECC currently has the lowest tuition of any college or university in Missouri,” noted Bauer.  “We believe that will remain the case even after this increase.”  He stated that if the tuition rate that ECC students have paid since 2005 is adjusted for inflation, it would represent $68.78 in 2011 dollars.  The $5 per credit hour increase keeps in-district tuition below that inflationary level.

Bauer said the tuition increase will generate an estimated $460,000 in general revenue which will offset an estimated $380,000 reduction in state aid as well as reduced federal funding for career and technical education.  The college will also have to deal with increased costs for retirement and utilities in the upcoming fiscal year. 

Board vice president Prudence Fink Johnson asked if the college could see a bigger reduction in state aid that the seven percent proposed by the governor.  “The legislature could reduce our state aid even more, but we won’t know that until May,” said Dr. Ed Jackson, ECC president.  “Our students will start enrolling for fall classes later this month so we want them to know what they’ll be paying for tuition when they register.”

Community colleges across the state are planning to keep in-district tuition increases manageable.  For ECC students, the change represents an 8 percent increase. “Governor Nixon asked the public colleges and universities to limit tuition increases for the coming year and the community colleges agreed to cap that at $5 per credit hour,” said Jackson. “This increase will not be a windfall for the college.” 

In addition to an increase in tuition for the 2011 fall semester, East Central College trustees approved fee additions for several new college courses and one existing course at their March 7 meeting. 

A $30 fee will be added to the regular per credit hour cost for five lab classes in the new Chemical Technology program.  A $25 per course fee to cover software costs will also be added to four courses in the new Business, Management and Technology program.  A fee of $389 will be added to the capstone course in the nursing program to cover the Kaplan NCLEX-RN Review.  Attaching the cost as a fee will enable financial aid to cover the expense in some instances. 

A $45 fee will be added to two Industrial Engineering Technology classes which will cover the cost of Department of Natural Resources licensure tests that students take at the completion of their water treatment and wastewater treatment operations coursework.   

Personnel matters approved by the board included the retirement of Ray Schaeffer and the resignation of Alisa Grist.  Schaeffer is coordinator of the Industrial Engineering Technology program and has taught at ECC for the past 13 years.  Grist has been coordinator of the Performing Arts Center for the past three years.  Applications are being accepted now for both positions. 

Trustees also approved the employment of Khristine Jarvis as an adjunct instructor in the nursing department.

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