Facing uncertain state funding from the Missouri General Assembly, the State Fair Community College Board of Trustees voted Tuesday morning to raise tuition at the college by $2 per credit hour for in-district tuition and an increase of $10 per hour for Missouri residents, out-of-state students and international students.
The rate increase will become effective beginning with the 2016 fall semester.
“When you realize the quality of SFCC’s programs and the excellent faculty in our classrooms, we are a great value for students going to college,” SFCC President Dr. Joanna Anderson president said. “In fact, the cost to attend SFCC is about one-third to one-half that of public universities.
“State funding for higher education has not fully recovered from cuts made during the recession; last year, state support was only 21 percent of our total revenue with local tax support just 13 percent,” Anderson added. “We proposed a tuition increase in order to have a balanced budget next year. It’s important to keep the financial health of SFCC moving in a positive direction.”
The board also adopted a Technical Program Tuition Tier.
Under the program, Tier One in-district students would pay $122 per credit hour with the maximum tier payment set at $302 per credit hour for in-district students.
Anderson said Mark Kelchner, dean of Technical Education, recently analyzed the revenue/cost ratio for the career and technical programs and found many had higher expenses than revenue.
“Tuition tiers have been created that will allow these programs to cover their direct costs,” Anderson said. “While it appears some of the programs will have a dramatic tuition increase, we also analyzed per credit hour course fees for these programs and rolled them into the new tuition rates.
“This is an advantage for our students utilizing the state’s A+ scholarship program, plus complete program costs are represented in one rate,” Anderson added. “We also looked at the career opportunities and incomes graduates in these programs have right here in mid-Missouri.”
Anderson said this helped to determine these programs are a cost effective investment in the student’s education.
The board also heard a report from business instructor Kelly Russell about a free service the college provides to help individuals during tax season.
“We have programmed with the IRS in their Volunteer Income Tax Program to help individuals who shouldn’t have to pay to have their taxes done,” Russell said. “It’s designed for the elderly and people who are lower income to help them file their taxes online.”
The program is free to both those using the service and the college.
“Each student who is enrolled in the class must pass an IRS certification test and all of the materials that they need to complete the class are provided by the IRS,” Russell said. “I have to complete a certification test as well and I also have to go through every return before they are submitted.
“The forms are filed electronically and most individuals will see their returns within a week through direct deposit,” she added. “The college does not have to pay for the program and we also assume no legal responsibility for the return.”
The program has been at the college for five years and in that time no returns filed by the college have been audited.
Last year students in the introduction to business class filed 231 Federal returns and 333 State returns.
“There are always fewer federal returns because many of the elderly citizens who we help do not have to file a Federal return,” Russell said. “It really is a great experience for the students because it helps with potential job placement but it also allows students the opportunity to develop their people skills.”
Russell said students were available to work with community members from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. Mondays and Wednesdays until April 15. Individuals who are interested in using the service should call the college to schedule an appointment.
In other actions the board voted to approve a warranty/maintenance agreement from CAE Healthcare Specialists of Sarasota, Florida, for $41,523.46 for the pediatric and adult simulators and learning space. The funding source is the annual operating budget.
The board also approved the hiring of Ryan Martin as coordinator of student activities and Alexandra Richter as admissions and outreach advisor.
The board also accepted the resignations of Mary Markmann as financial aid senior advisor and Krysta Busekrus as a student success navigator.
The trustees will host an open reception from 9 to 11 a.m. to recognize Dr. Gary Noland, Board of Trustees President, who is retiring from the board in April.
Noland is retiring from the college after a career of more than 40 years as an instructor and board member at the college.
Hope Lecchi can be reached at 660-826-1000 ext. 1484