One to 350 adviser-student ratio should be reached by 2017.
By Cynthia M. Herrera
Students will pay a 5 percent increase for classes starting in the spring semester after the Alamo Colleges board of trustees approved an amended annual budget for the 2016-17 fiscal year.
The budget was approved in July and the amendment added during the regular board meeting Oct. 27.
The new tuition rate for up to six hours in the spring is $504 compared to $480 this semester for in-district students.
The district charges a flat rate for students taking one to six semester hours.
Tuition goes up incrementally for each semester hour above six.
Tuition rates will be an additional $3.50 per hour.
A student taking 12 hours will pay $873, $42 more than the $831 charged this semester.
All students, whether in-district, out-of-district or out-of-country will be affected.
The vote was 5-3. District 2 trustee Denver McClendon left before the vote.
District 1 trustee Joe Alderete, District 4 trustee Marcelo Casillas and Chair Ana Bustamante, District 3 trustee, voted against the increase.
The tuition increase was approved to raise revenue to cover the cost of hiring advisers to ensure there is one adviser for every 350 students by 2017.
The current ratio is one to 400.
There are 45 advisers within the Alamo Colleges, and an additional 20 advisers will be hired by 2017.
The district also will spend $1 million for software.
A total of $3.7 million has been spent on advisers, and an additional $1.7 million will be used to provide office space for the additional advisers as well as their certification and training.
English sophomore Michael Santos said he didn’t think the increase was too bad and might be beneficial.
“I don’t think it’s that bad, considering. I didn’t find the increase to be substantial or shocking,” Santos said. “I think that’s fair. I started school eight years back, and then I left for five years, so this is my second semester back. The whole advising aspect helped me get back into school.”
Donna Goodloe, funeral director sophomore, said it was unfortunate for those not having access to financial aid or grants.
“Honestly, I think school is just expensive anyway. For kids, especially, if they don’t have family to help them pay for tuition or those who don’t qualify for aid,” she said.
The Alamo Colleges 2015-16 budget approved in July was $328.4 million and is now set at $332.1 million.
District 8 trustee Clint Kingsbery noticed no one addressed the tuition increase during citizens-to-be-heard.
“We had a large number of students here tonight to present and none of them mentioned the tuition increase at all and I know that they’re very passionate about things that are going on at their school,” Kingsbery said. “And it’s not like they didn’t know it was happening.”
“Either they see value in what we’re doing or I’m not sure why they didn’t put that out there.”
Bustamante said students could have overlooked the item because there is so much on the agenda.
The Texas Association of Community Colleges Spring 2015 Tuition and Fees chart states the Alamo Colleges is $8 per credit hour below the state average for community colleges for 12 semester credit hours.