Two trustees question the change from fall 2017.
By Wally Perez
After two weeks of gathering data and input from students, the in-district tuition schedule was approved during the board of trustees monthly meeting Tuesday at the Alamo Colleges Central Texas Technology Center in New Braunfels.
In-district students should prepare to see an increase in tuition as the cost changes to a flat rate of $86 per credit hour.
Under the increase, the cost would be $258 for three credit hours, $516 for six hours, $774 for nine hours, $1,032 for 12 hours and $1,290 for 15 hours.
Currently, students pay $504 for up to six credit hours, $691 for nine hours, $873 for 12 hours and $1,054 for 15 hours.
Under the new fast completion incentive plan, students who follow a two-year plan obtain up to six free credit hours in the summer if they earn a combined 24 credit hours in the fall and spring.
Students will see the effect of the new schedule in spring 2017.
District 3 trustee Anna Bustamante was the only trustee who voted against the motion to approve the change.
Bustamante also voiced concern during the Audit, Budget and Finance Committee meeting Oct. 11.
Bustamante said the two weeks that was taken to gather data was too little and she wanted to see more input from part-time students as they were the primary target for the increase.
It was to encourage students to take more classes.
“I wish they would have gotten more input from students, the ones who are actually going to get affected by this,” Bustamante said.
She said tuition has been a long discussion, starting some time back with the last mention in spring.
“I’m never happy with a tuition increase, and I feel like once students realize it’s an increase, some of them will be upset,” Bustamante said.
“I understand how hard it is to get the word out and gather student input, but some more time would have been nice.”
Bustamante said she thought one or two other trustees would have said something and was slightly surprised she was the only one who voted against it.
Christopher Scoggins, student trustee alternate and Student Government Association treasurer at this college, said he wasn’t thrilled about the approval either.
Scoggins said he wished there had been more time to get more input.
He would have liked to see the increase take effect in fall 2017 as was suggested during the committee meeting Oct. 11.
Leslie said if they waited to pass the item, students would lose the opportunity for classes this summer.
Scoggins said since there is no board meeting in November, the board wanted to vote on the item Tuesday as voting on the item in December would have been during spring registration which begins mid-November, which isn’t ideal.
“The students have spoken and the survey results show they are largely in favor of the tuition change,” Scoggins said.
“Since we are the Student Government Association, we are supposed to be the voice of the students, and it seems that they want it.”
Scoggins said it would have been nice if they were able to have more time and aim for four-digit survey numbers, but that probably wasn’t going to happen anyway.
Although students had a short time frame to respond to the survey, Scoggins said he was proud of the surveying initiatives at SAC.
“We had almost 300 responses at SAC in the two-weeks we had and that’s not nothing,” Scoggins said.
Leslie said this tuition change will help to achieve the district’s wildly important goals (WIG) for graduation.
“You’ve heard me over and over again; there is no silver bullet, but there is a silver buckshot,” Leslie said.
“This strategy with the tuition is again, another one of those silver buckshots that will help us achieve our graduation WIG.”
Board Chair Yvonne Katz requested the board meeting at the CTTC during a previous board meeting July 26, even though it is located outside of district lines.
It recently completed renovations that included an expansion for additional classrooms and labs.
Although the center is located 44 miles from this college, it is legal for the board to meet outside its jurisdiction.