Pratt Community College has earned a high finance rating.

With all the financial issues facing colleges and universities, Pratt Community College has proven itself to be very efficient with its finances. The Higher Learning Commission Financial Index looks at several economic indicators and rates each then gives colleges and universities a Composite Financial Index. A rating of 1.1 to 10 (10 is best) is considered good with no action necessary. The PCC Composite Financial Index is 8.65 and that is excellent. Pratt Community College President Michael Calvert said Vice President of Finance and Operations Kent Adams and the rest of the faculty and staff have worked hard to reach this level of financial stability.

"These numbers are outstanding," Calvert said.

The numbers were presented to the PCC Board of Trustees during their regular monthly meeting March 19.

The college will continue its efforts to be efficient with its finances as it moves towards re-accreditation in 2020. Gene George of Gene George Counseling was hired to lead the college through this process. He gave an update on the college's progress on reaching their goal with a Reaffirmation of Re-accreditatin Efforts that documents the quality of the college. The PCC efforts are right on track and the college is working on a Systems Portfolio that is due in 2019. This shows how the college met the HLC criteria for accreditation. An HLC team will read the Portfolio, evaluate it then provide the college with feedback on strengths and areas the need improvement.

In March 2020, an HLC team will make an on-site visit to PCC and inspect every aspect of operations. They will validate that PCC took action to make improvements the HLC team indicated. Following that, they will make a decision on re-accreditation but exactly when that decision will be made is not set, Calvert said.

One area that will definitely show improvement is the Associate Degree in Nursing program that came to a stop when graduation rates fell below the state required levels. The college has been working diligently to re-establish a quality ADN program and those efforts have paid off with graduation rates exceeding the state required levels. The ADN program has received conditional approval to resume the program. Next week, the college will go before the Kansas State Board of Nursing to re-admit students to the ADN program at PCC, Calvert said.

Representatives from KSBN will conduct a site visit in 2020 to evaluate the progress of the ADN program.

Meanwhile, the Licensed Practical Nurse program at PCC has maintained high graduation rates and continues to operate with high efficiency. Following a PN State Board visit to PCC, a five year renewal for the program has been recommended to the KSBN.

Besides the nursing program update, the Trustees also got an update on Foresight 2020.

To meet the predicted number of jobs requiring an award from a college or university, the Kansas Board of Regents instituted Foresight 2020, an initiative to have 60 percent of all adult Kansans have some kind of post secondary credential, whether its a certificate or a two-year or four-year degree.

The numbers are in on and it is clear that Kansas is not going to reach that goal, Calvert said.

Foresight 2020 set goals for all universities, community colleges and technical colleges to meet this goal. In 2017, only Colby Community College, Northwest Kansas Technical College and Wichita Area Technical College out of 35 institutions had exceeded their Foresight 2020 Goal. Pratt Community College had reached 305 awards while their goal was 465 with a 2020 goal of 518.

Through the years since Foresight was initiated in 2013, the number of awards has increased but they have hit a will. The college will continue to work on improving its numbers including working on reverse transfer, said Calvert who updates the Trustees every year on Foresight's progress.

Reverse transfer allows students that did not complete their degree at a two-year institution but transferred to a four-year institution to transfer the number of hours they lack on their associates degree back to the two-year institution and complete that degree. This allows the two-year institution to add another award to the total. While this would help increase two-year college numbers, if a student is working towards a four-year degree, why would they transfer credits to get an associates degree.

Another area colleges and universities are working on is finding "step-out" students and recruit them again to finish their degree. Step-out students started working on a degree and stopped before it was completed.

Another tactic is increase the number of students completing a GED program so they can go on and receive an award.

One are area where PCC continues to excel is the Student Success Index. The Student Success Index looks at the percentage of students that receive a degree or transfer to another college or university to continue their education.

Pratt Community College has a 69 percent rate on the index and that is the best in the state among two-year institutions.

"Our graduation and transfer rates are solid," Calvert said.

@GaleR_Tribune