Changes need to be made if tuition schedule approved.
Alamo Colleges trustees are considering a tuition and fee schedule that would unbind the single rate for one to six hours and go to a rate of $86 per hour, which would significantly increase the cost to attend full-time.
The idea is to encourage students to take a full-time course load with the prospect of three to six credit hours free in the summer.
We’ve already covered how this fails to take into account the needs of the average part-time student, but if this passes, there are changes that can be made to make this system more successful, even if district officials say they won’t be making any additional funds.
The first would be to extend lab resources that have been cut over the last few years.
Students need these resources to succeed, yet they tend to be the first cuts when funds are short. This certainly isn’t putting students first.
Additionally, extend work-study opportunities. Many of the positions departments and offices relied on have been cut.
Almost 80 percent of the student population of the district is listed as part-time. They need their income supplemented, and the only way the Alamo Colleges can do that is by giving students an alternative source to replace what they lose by taking more hours.
However, those are minor concerns when it comes to this plan. The big issue is the summer term itself. Right now those three to six free credit hours offer very little to students. Unlike the fall and spring semesters, the offerings in summer are paltry.
When students try to enroll in those free credits, they will realize the courses they need are not offered.
Any student at 54 hours can’t use their free credits because the courses they need are related to a major and most departments do not offer advanced courses in the summer.
Some departments don’t offer anything in the summer.
The main reason is the faculty concern with this proposal. Full-time faculty don’t want to teach in summer because the level of compensation they receive is significantly less than what they receive in the fall or spring. This cut was in response to a shortfall in the state budget.
How does this incentive work if there are no teachers for the courses?
Some might suggest adjuncts. That is absurd.
They aren’t required to keep regular office hours and probably teach at other colleges. That is not the way for students to succeed.
That is just a cursory glance at some of the things that need to be addressed.
If this is truly about the students, make these changes before going forward with a hollow incentive.
Every discussion these days seems to be centered on student success. Now is the time for action rather than just more talk.