Pratt Community College students will face increases in tuition and fees for the 2011-2012 school year.

Pratt Community College students will face increases in tuition and fees for the 2011-2012 school year.

The increases were approved at the PCC Board of Trustees monthly meeting Monday night at PCC.

In-state tuition will increase $1 from $48 to $49, out-of-state tuition will increase $2 from $53 to $55 and international tuition will increase $3 from $99 to $102 per credit hour.

General fees will have a $1 change from $31 to $32 while concurrent fees will also have a $1 increase from $14 to $15.

The increases will help the college meet increasing operation costs and other expenses, said PCC President William Wojciechowski.

The announcement comes earlier in the year than most community colleges that like to wait until the state legislature has completed its work.

The earlier announcement is part of the PCC truth in pricing approach. It lets students and parents know the cost of education and help them figure the difference between scholarship awards and the total cost, Wojciechowski said.

Setting the early tuition and fee is also a valuable recruiting tool for PCC.

“It goes a long way to help our students and parents make their decision (on a school),” Wojciechowski said.

The tuition and fees at PCC put them in the upper third of other community colleges in Kansas. The class size is smaller at PCC and it costs a bit more per student per class. The college doesn’t like to pass on all the costs to the taxpayer so they put more of the cost burden on the student, Wojciechowski said.

An increase in PELL grants has helped students pay more that helps justify the increase in tuition and fees. While the increases are important, colleges are also under pressure from Congress and the U.S. Department of Education to keep costs at an affordable level so any increase is carefully considered.

While students will face increases in costs for 2011-2012, student athletes at PCC are facing a new program designed to help increase their graduation percentage.

The goal of the Student-Athlete Retention and Academic Success Program is to assist student-athletes achieve educational and personal growth goals.

This is a unique and one of few programs like it in the country, Wojciechowski said. 

The program includes an orientation program that covers college services, academic and behavioral expectations of students, athletic procedures, financial aid residence hall living; provide academic, career and personal counseling support; monitor class attendance and progress; provide tutoring and academic support services; improve academic success of student-athletes through structured study sessions.

Jerrid Schicke, program coordinator, said that all 270 student athletes and their coaches are involved in the program that includes mandatory team study halls with coaches and individual study sessions.

All study sessions are carefully monitored and student participation is recorded.

So far the new program has met with positive response from students and coaches.            

“The system has done very well,” Schicke said. 

The college has long been concerned with student-athletes graduation rates and their academic progress. This program is a concerted effort to increase student-athlete academic levels up to or higher than the student body in general, Wojciechowski said.

The college takes student-athlete academic progress seriously and is working continuously to working to increase retention and graduation rates.

Improving academic skills also helps student-athletes when the move on to division one or division two schools.

Those colleges and universities look at academic success very closely when considering recruitment. It does them no good to recruit an athlete if that athlete is ineligible or flunks out so academic success is a powerful recruiting key and the new program will help PCC student-athletes succeed, Wojciechowski said.

The program will be closely monitored and could expand into the general student body depending on the success of the program.