The State Fair Community College Board of Trustees met Tuesday morning and received news of possible tuition rate freezes proposed by the governor and enrollment figures for both the college and SFCC’s Career and Technology Center.
Dr. Joanna Anderson, president of SFCC, attended a meeting Monday with leaders of both two- and four-year universities from across the state where Gov. Jay Nixon announced his 2017 budget proposal, which will include an additional $55.7 million in funding for higher education.
“If his proposal is passed by the legislature, it would bring the state’s funding to an all-time high,” Anderson said. “Of course he led with the idea that he wants to freeze tuition rates.
“We know that is not his decision to make,” Anderson said. “It would be one we would support because of the potential off-setting benefits to the college.”
Those benefits would potentially include a 5 percent increase in overall funding to colleges and universities and a 1 percent increase to core funding for STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) programs.
“We have always stressed the importance of STEM funding so this would help us continue in our goals to graduate students in those high-demand fields,” Anderson added.
Many of those STEM programs begin in the college’s CTC Program that serves 11 area high schools.
In the program, area students are given the opportunity to receive high school credits, and in many of the eight programs, college credit.
“We are seeing a record enrollment in CTC this year,” CTC Director Teresa Starke said. “We have a 12 percent increase in enrollment over last year giving us our highest enrollment in seven years.”
Starke credited one of the reasons for the program’s growth to the willingness of both the department instructors and counselors to go to area schools and promote the CTC Program.
The program has 215 high school students and 19 individuals enrolled in the adult education program, which falls under CTC’s guidance.
While the CTC is seeing an increase in enrollment, overall enrollment is down at SFCC according to the latest census numbers.
“We are down 4 percent this year,” Anderson said. “While we were hoping for a 2 percent decline, we know that overall community college enrollment is down between 4 and 8 percent.
“While some universities are reporting record enrollment, we know we are all competing for the same students, and part of their record enrollment figures are the large number of students who graduated from two-year colleges and go on to get four-year degrees,” Anderson said. “Many of the adults who typically enroll at SFCC are going into the work force because the economy is pulling them into the job market.”
In other news, the board voted to:
• Approve the directors for the SFCC Facility Corporation: Bob Berlin, president, Rob Russell, vice president, Mary Treuner, secretary, Garry Sorrell, treasurer, Dr. Joanna Anderson, Joe Fischer, David Furnell, Kyle Herrick, Alan Wilson.
• Purchase two pieces of equipment for the machine tool program: a HAAS Mini Mill from the Haas Factory Outlet of Olathe for $62,567.50 for a vertical machining center and a HAAS VF-3 for $77,187. Both purchases were made with 75 percent Enhancement Grants and 25 percent local funding.
• Purchase an anatomage interactive study table for $92,450 for use in the radiology department. The funding source is a 75 percent enhancement grant and 25 percent local funding.
• Hire Rob Rollings Architects LLC for architectural services on an as-needed basis. The contract is for two years and the total payment to the firm for their services is not to exceed $150,000, plus reimbursable expenses. The agreement is for work on repair and renovation projects.
Hope Lecchi can be reached at 660-826-1000 ext. 1484