Tuition increase forwarded to board

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Yvonne Katz, District 7 trustee and non-committee member, explains how having a small tuition increase could have been a better option and not been as much of a burden on students as a single 5 percent increase tuition Oct. 20 at  the Audit, Budget and Finance Committee.

Yvonne Katz, District 7 trustee and non-committee member, explains how having a small tuition increase could have been a better option and not been as much of a burden on students as a single 5 percent increase tuition Oct. 20 at the Audit, Budget and Finance Committee. Photo by Cynthia M. Herrera

Employees expected to receive one-time bonus.

By Cynthia M. Herrera

cherrera151@student.alamo.edu

A 5 percent increase starting in the spring and a one-time employee bonus were sent to the full board for consideration after Tuesday’s executive session during the Audit, Budget and Finance Committee meeting Tuesday.

The October regular monthly board meeting is 6 p.m. Oct. 27 at Killen Center.

Proposed tuition increases would take effect spring 2016 and are expected to cost students an additional $3.50 per credit hour or $42 for 12 hours.

This applies to in-district and out-of-district students.

The last tuition increase was fall 2012 with a 3 percent increase, bringing it to the current rate of $480 per credit hour.

To date there has been a $3.7 million investment in 45 advisers and an additional $1 million to be spent on software for advisers.

This anticipated increase of $1.3 million changes the total operating budget from $328.4 million, which was approved in July to $332.1 million.

Revenue is expected to be $2.4 million, which would be used toward providing every student with an adviser.

An additional estimated $1.7 million would be spent for 20 new advisers and office space in 2017.

Diane Synder, vice chancellor for finance and administration, said the Alamo Colleges are currently $8 per credit hour under the state average for community colleges.

Of 50 community colleges across the U.S., Alamo Colleges had the 35th lowest for in-district tuition in spring 2015.

Alamo Colleges also comes in second for highest out-of-district tuition and non-Texas and international students in spring 2015.

According to the PowerPoint, taxes are main sources of funding for community colleges, while tuition, state appropriations and benefits have decreased.

District 7 trustee Yvonne Katz said the district should have increased tuition at a smaller rate every year so it wouldn’t be so much all at once.

Katz mentioned she did this while she was superintendent of Harlandale Independent School District.

“Every year, we looked at going up on our taxes, every single year 2.999 percent, 2.999 percent, it’s a little bitty amount,” Katz said. “I sat on another board of directors at a university, a private university, and we go up on tuition just a little bitty bit every year … It’s when you don’t go up a bit that you get to this point where you have to say ‘a big 3 percent or a big 5 percent’ … we need to adjust our thinking over the next few years.”

District 4 trustee Joe Alderete told Snyder he would have liked to see more budgetary options. “It’s your responsibility, as a CFO, to come to us with a variety of budget plans and budget offers,” he said.

Employee bonuses under consideration cost an estimated $2.5 million, $400 for full-time faculty and $200 for part-time and would be received in December.

Bonuses were proposed to the committee to recognize employee work in increasing student graduates to 35 percent.

District 8 trustee Clint Kingsbery wanted to make clear the tuition increase was not to fund bonuses nor does he want to see it occur year after year because they are unable to raise funds.

“I’m not opposed to giving our employees a bonus, but I don’t want to see it as a trend … I want to make sure that it’s clear that the bonus is not why the proposal for the tuition is there,” he said.

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