Tuition increase due to compliance issue with VA

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New per-credit hour pricing is a redistribution of current pricing model.

By Kyle R. Cotton

kcotton11@student.alamo.edu

During the Audit, Budget and Finance Committee Tuesday trustees discussed the proposed pay-per-credit-hour change to the current tuition rate and forwarded it to the full board for its approval.

Diane Snyder, vice chancellor for finance and administration, said the proposed change is in response to the Veterans Administration not accepting the Alamo Colleges’ current tuition and fee schedule, since there was no set dollar amount per credit hour.

Snyder said the financial conflict was brought before the board about six months ago and resolved with a special agreement with the VA.

Under the proposed revisions, in-district students will pay $83 per credit hour.

If the change is approved at the full board meeting Tuesday, in-district students who are taking more than six credit hours will be paying more than the current tuition pricing, and students taking a full 12 credit hours will pay an additional $123, totaling $996.

Sixty-seven percent of students, not counting dual credit, are using financial aid, and 55 percent are considered economically disadvantaged by the district.

Snyder said under the proposed adjustment, the district would maintain the same amount of revenue under the current tuition pricing.

“Some students do pay more and some students pay less in this. Do keep in mind that 60 percent of our students are on financial aid or veteran benefits so they kind of pass us through on to Pell, etc. that would cover that,” Snyder said.

“We are looking for incentive plans to help mitigate the cost for those that are a little higher for those taking full-time loads, that we can incent that through some other savings programs,” Snyder said.

Snyder expects to come back to the board with an incentive recommendation in April.

The tuition schedule also rebalances the out-of-district tuition to reflect the taxes not being paid, which has lowered the tuition from the previous rebalance.

Summer 2011 was the last time the district re-examined the absent taxes from out-of-district students.

“We’ve updated our analysis on that: ‘well, how much is that,’ let’s make sure we’re not priced too high or too low,” Snyder said. “When we did that, we found we were actually high compared to what our intent out of district would be.”

Snyder sees out-of-district students as a potential growth point.

Snyder said she expects enrollment to grow greatly at Northeast Lakeview, which is near the Interstate-35 corridor coming into San Antonio.

“I got a note from Debbie Hamilton (Northeast Lakeview vice president of student success) over there that said if she were in the room there with me, she’d hug me because they’ve been so wanting this,” Snyder said.

Snyder said when the district last adjusted the out-of-district tuition rate, enrollment at Northeast Lakeview dropped.

Pamela Ansboury, associate vice chancellor of finance and administration, said, “Northeast Lakeview is right up there on the border of Bexar County, so people near the college could be neighbors and live two minutes away from the college but could be paying 2.67 times tuition because they are on the Comal County side of the border.”

Ansboury said Northeast Lakeview feels this has deterred potential students.

District 5 trustee Roberto Zárate — who has praised the board before for initiatives like AlamoInstitutes and AlamoAdvise, designed to streamline students’ pathways to the four-year institutes — expects the changes in tuition to have a minimal impact on a student’s timeline to transfer to four-year institutes.

Zárate said that even with the increase, students’ financial aid will still go farther at the university level.

Zárate said they would still be spending less time here, allowing continued use of financial aid such as Pell grants at the four-year institute of the students’ choosing.

For more information on the proposed tuition changes, visit https://v3.boardbook.org/Public/PublicItemDownload.aspx?ik=38384141.

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