The Pratt Community College Board of Trustees voted to increase tuition and fees for the 2018-2019 school year.

Students at Pratt Community College will see increases in tuition and fees for the 2018-2019 school year along with an across the board two percent increase in residence hall charges.

The increases were approved at the regular Board of Trustees meeting on Monday, Dec. 18.

Some costs will not increase. Concurrent fees for high school students, EDUKAN fees and Pratt Online fees will stay the same as last year, said PCC President Michael Calvert who didn't want to raise student costs but with inflation and increasing costs, it was necessary for efficient college operations.

The college is trying to keep the increases as small as possible because Calvert doesn't want to price the college out of reach for some students.

The estimated net dollars generated from the increases in tuition is $58,700 and fees is $48,400, said Kent Adams, vice president of finance and operations.

In-state tuition is up $1 to $62, out-of-state tuition is up $2 to $73 and International tuition is up $3 to $88. General fees are up $2 to $47.

Total tuition and fees for PCC for in-state students will increase $3 to $109. Compared to other community colleges, PCC is equal to Butler and Dodge City at their current rate but they are expected to raise their tuition and fees as well so PCC is equal to them before they raise their rates.

Selected other current college tuition and fees: Barton $108, Cowley $99, Garden City $96, Hutchinson $106, Seward $95. Again, these are current prices and all these colleges are expected to raise their tuition and fees for the 2018-2019 school year, Calvert said.

The residence hall two percent increase is expected to generate an additional $30,968. The average residence hall plan including 19 meals for selected colleges is: PCC-$5,764; Barton-$5,707; Butler-$6,000; Cowley-$5,500; Dodge City-$5,920; Garden City-$6,050; Hutchinson-$5,728; Seward-$6,764.

While the Trustees approved the increases, they also learned the latest numbers on PCC's economic impact on the community. The college is the second largest employer in Pratt County. They have 314 full and part time employees with an annual payroll of $5.6 million, Adams said.

The college is responsible for the livelihood of 1,006 Pratt County wage earners and that is 14 percent of the work force in Pratt County in 2015 according to the Kansas Statistical Abstract 2016.

The college serves 1,641 students that take 26,856 credit hours. They annually provide $153,000 in Pratt County Residents scholarships and make use of $1.8 million in state and federal grants.

The college students, faculty and staff provided 8,454 hours of community service last year, 385 community groups used the facilities, outside organizations accounted for some 20,000 plus local and visitors, while the college hosted the Miss Kansas Pageant, a football camp, graduation, academic olympics and technology day.

Adams said as much as possible, PCC purchases locally: $2.4 million in goods and services in Pratt (that is 34 percent of total PCC purchases in goods and services; $873,000 in student purchases in goods and services in Pratt; $380,000 in visitor purchases in goods and services in Pratt.

The PCC Trustees policy is that if local vendors on sealed bids are within seven percent of the lowest bid to be awarded the bid.

The estimated annual net economic contribution to Pratt County is $31 million, Adams said.

The return on investment for students at PCC-$7.20 for every $1; State of Kansas return on investment-$3.18 for every $1; Pratt County return on investment-$5.98 for every $1.

The college continues to strive to prepare students for future employment. They have received several Recognitions of Excellence for their efforts.

• Smart named PCC as one of the top 20 community colleges in 2014, 2015 and 2016.

• Aspen Institute named PCC as one of the top 150 community colleges for the fourth consecutive time 2013, 2015, 2017 and 2019. The awards are made every other year.

• Wallet named PCC as one of the top 20 best community colleges in 2016 and 2017.

• Affordable named PCC as one of the 25 most affordable colleges in the nation for 2015.

Pratt Community College students graduating with an associates degree have the highest starting salary compared to all other Kansas Community Colleges and to all Kansas public four year institutions with students graduating with a bachelors degree.

Part of maintaining quality education is up to date equipment. The equipment in the weight room was very old and some was held together with duct tape, some was rusty and it needed to be replaced. The Trustees authorized a bid of $134,900 from Advanced Exercise to replace weight and cardio equipment plus new flooring. Two other bids were submitted: Push Pedal Pull-$122,600 and Sorinex-$144,900. The administration recommend the higher bid because of quality concerns. Funding for the equipment will come from the Housing and Student Center Auxiliary Fund. Another $15,000 will be needed for HVAC.

The upgrade in equipment is expected to have a positive impact on attracting new students.

"This is a great recruiting tool on campus," said PCC Trustee Dwane DeWeese.