Enrollment and revenue are challenges.
On Aug. 11, Pratt Community College Board of Trustees Chair Michele Hamm and President Michael Calvert welcomed the faculty back to campus and greeted staff members with a reception and “State of the College” address.
Hamm opened the address and shared her enthusiasm for the new school year.
“On behalf of the Board, let me report to you that the state of the college is in good shape,” she said. “Though we’ve been told to plan for at least a 5 percent rescission from the State, the Board has raised neither the mil levy nor tuition and fees. This keeps the budget tight, but maintains our responsibility to our tax payers and keeps us competitive with the other community colleges.”
Hamm congratulated the faculty and staff for their role in the institution being named by the Aspen Institute as one of the nation’s 150 top community colleges, and commended everyone for making this honor possible.
“The state of the college is solid, promising and continues to fulfill the mission set forth by the Board of Trustees,” said Hamm. “The efforts of our employees provide maximum student learning, individual and workforce development, high quality instruction and service and community enrichment.”
Hamm closed by quoting John F. Kennedy and summing up not just the institution of Pratt Community College, but the students, community members and beyond:
“Let us think of education as the means of developing our greatest abilities, because in each of us there is a private hope and dream which, fulfilled, can be translated into benefit for everyone and greater strength for our nation.”
Dr. Calvert outlined the strengths, challenges and opportunities that the college faces entering the 2014–2015 school year.
• Enrollment is trending downward with a decrease of 3.82 percent average for fall 2013 among Kansas Community Colleges
• Enrollment is down nationally by 2.1 percent in 2011-201 and 3.1 percent in 2012-2013
• Kansas tax revenue falls below estimates
• Kansas brought in $726 million less in tax revenue this fiscal year than last year, according to a report released Aug. 4, 2014 by the Department of Revenue. That represents a year-to-year drop in revenue of nearly 12 percent for the state.
• According to a 2013 SHEEO (a national association of state higher education leaders) report, revenue from tuition nationally paid for 44 percent of all operating expenses of public colleges and universities in 2012, the highest share ever.
• At PCC, tuition pays for only 16 percent of the operating expenses.
• A 10-year strategic agenda for the state’s public higher education system approved by the Kansas Board of Regents
• The three strategic goals of Foresight 2020 are:
1. Increase Higher Education Attainment Among Kansans
2. Improve Alignment of the State’s Higher Education System with the Needs of the Economy
3. Ensure State University Excellence
• In 2013 – 2014, the Kansas postsecondary system awarded 42,130 credentials – putting the state above goal projections
• Kansas postsecondary institutions seek to increase to 60 percent the number of Kansas adults who have a certificate, associate or bachelor’s degree by 2020
“Despite the many challenges, we can and will move forward,” said Calvert in closing. “Changes will occur in response to needs, funding, technology and the type of student that we teach. We must be prepared to adapt to the changing needs of our students and stakeholders.”