College students seeking an information technology certificate or associate degree could be taking classes in fall 2015 through a joint association between Pratt Community College and Wichita Area Technical College.

The PCC Board of Trustees gave their approval to pursue the program at their Monday night board meeting.

Joe Varrientos, PCC vice president for instruction, has been working with WATC for several months to iron out the program details.

Interest in program is high. Although the program has not been submitted to the Kansas Board of Regents for approval yet, WATC is already recruiting, Varrientos said.

The program is a way for PCC to increase its IT program options and break through into another service area.

“It gives us access to a larger pool of students and faculty,” Varrientos said. “There’s a lot more expertise in Wichita.”

Classes may take place at the eLearning Center and be available to PCC students through ITV.

The program would be two-fold. A technical certificate program would be offered through WATC in conjunction with PCC for students in the Wichita area. A PCC adjunct instructor would deliver courses in Wichita.

Then PCC would offer an associate degree in Information Networking Technology.

Each school would offer general education courses in their respective areas. Both the certificate and associate degree would be completed through PCC.

The first semester of instruction would be delivered through WATC for students in the Wichita Area and WATC would receive all the revenue from general education classes and the first 15 hours of technical courses.

From there on, PCC would deliver course work in Wichita and throughout the PCC service area. All revenue from the additional technical credit hours in both service areas would go to PCC.

The expected net for the first year is $13,000.

The PCC budget for 2014-2015 was approved with some anxious eyes looking at potential cuts in state funding.

Some reductions in programs had to be made in the $20.4 million budget in anticipation of a possible rescission of up to five percent from fiscal year 2014, said Kent Adams, vice president of finance and operations.

The 2014-2015 budget is $5 million more than the current budget. Adams said that even though it was higher, it was bare bones and it reflected adjustments in anticipation of a drop in education funding.

Capital outlay is very minimal for 2014-2015 with only $207,000 in projects scheduled. But the next four years after that, the college will have to spend at least three times that amount each year just to maintain the current facilities and almost no new additions, Adams said.

While the budget is higher, the college was able to keep the mil levy at the current level of 41.531 mils.

Students also got some good news with no increase in tuition or fees for in state students. Current tuition is $56 per credit hour and fees are $39 per credit hour.

Kansas’ colleges are also facing a possible change in the funding through re-centering. Based on the number of hours a college generates in relationship to the entire college system, KBOR would redistribute state among the individual colleges.

This re-centering could impact state aid to each of the community colleges so PCC is going to watch this process closely.