Board of Trustees approve fee increase for 2020-2021 school year.
Pratt County Community College students will face higher tuition and fees for the 2020-2021 school year. The PCC Trustees approved the increases at their Nov. 18 Board meeting.
The college is one of the first in the state to announce changes in tuition, fees and residence hall charges. Other colleges wait until the Legislature sets educational funding.
"We do this for our students so they'll know what to expect," said Michael Calvert, PCC president. "We do it to meet the cost of inflation. The fee dollars will help the scholarship fund."
The changes are expected to bring in net increases of $24,648 for tuition and $39,437 for fees
In-state tuition will increase $1 from $63 to $64. Out-state tuition will increase $2 from $75 to $77. International tuition will increase $4 from $91 to $95, said PCC President Michael Calvert.
Concurrent tuition will stay the same at $62.
General fees will increase $2 from $49 to $51. Concurrent fees will increase $1 from $26 to $27. EDUKAN will remain the same at $150 and Pratt Online will remain the same at $135.
Total tuition and fees: In-state up $3 from $112 to $115; Out-state up $4 from $124 to $128; International up $6 from $140 to $146.
Tuition and Fees at comparable Kansas Community Colleges: Pratt $112; Barton $114; Butler $121; Cowley $115; Dodge City $111; Garden City $108; Hutchinson $114; Seward $108; WSU Tech $110.
Residence Hall charges went up two percent across the board and are expected to bring in a net of $47,512. The biggest change was the 19 meal plan at Wojciechowski Hall with an increase of $134 from $6,697 to $6,831. Smallest change was the 10 meal plan at halls other than Wojciechowski, North and Scholarship halls at $94 from $4,686 to $4,780.
Residence Hall charges at comparable Kansas Community Colleges for 19 meal plan at middle range halls: Pratt $5,986; Barton $5,821, Butler $6,250; Cowley $5,400; Dodge City $6,100; Garden City $6,050; Hutchinson $6,000; Seward $5,110.
All rates are subject to change if funding outlook changes.
The college enrollment for the spring 2020 semester is down from a year ago but the percent changes weekly. As of Nov. 25, enrollment was down two percent but enrollment continues through mid January when classes start. Official spring enrollment is taken on Feb. 20.
The college keeps a close eye on enrollment because retention is very important for the college.
While the college is increasing tuition, fees and residence hall charges, they are working to help students manage their debt load default rate. The Kansas Department of Education monitors student loan debt. The KDOE is trying to hold colleges accountable for their default rate but if students borrow more money, there is nothing the college can do about it, Calvert said.
The college has strategies in place to address the rising default rate. The college carefully monitors student loans and meets with them when they arrive and when they leave. They college staff encourages students to only borrow what they need for school expenses but sometimes the students will include their living expenses. Students are told loan expectations, they are told they have to pay it back and to not borrow so much money.
While the college offers advice, the fact is, if the student qualifies for more student loans, the college can't stop them from taking the loan. If they qualify, its up to the student to decide if they are going to take it. Sometimes, students arrive at PCC and already have a large loan.
Over the past seven or eight years, the percentage has been steadily rising from 12 to 13 to 14 percent. The college target goal is 10 percent.
If a student doesn't get a job to pay off they loan, then they may have to default on the loan.
"Student loan debt has become a huge debt on the economy. This is the next financial bubble," Calvert said.
Calvert said the college is reaching out to other colleges that have been successful on reducing their student loan default percentage and incorporate those strategies at PCC.
The latest three year default rates as of Nov. 18, 2019 reveals Pratt has the sixth highest default rate among all Kansas Community Colleges with a 14.3 percent rate. The highest is Fort Scott with 24.7 percent and Hutchinson with 5 percent.
Kansas Community College three year default rates: Fort Scott 24.7 percent; Dodge City 21.4 percent; Highland 17.9 percent; WSU Tech 16.9 percent; Seward 15.8 percent; Pratt 14.3 percent; Allen 13.8 percent; Butler 13.8 percent; Barton 12.9 percent; Independence 11.8 percent; Johnson 11.4 percent; Labette 11.4 percent; Neosho 11.0 percent; Cloud 10.4 percent; Colby 10.4 percent; Kansas City Kansas 8.4 percent; Garden City 7.5 percent; Cowley 5.4 percent; Coffeyville 5.1 percent; Hutchinson 5.0 percent.
The Trustees have approved a trail run to allow alcohol in the Hall of Fame Room on two specific events for a select group only. The college has already approved several rooms on campus for alcohol to specific groups. The college would like to make alcohol available in the Hall of Fame Room for two basketball games a year. This would be a fundraising event for the college.
Calvert said alcohol sales and usage at major sporting events, especially at major colleges, has become a standard practice. The college would not be selling the alcohol and it would be for an invited group of people only as a fund raising event.