by Max Brantley
Pulaski Tech will be increasing tuition for students of the community college.
Tuition at Pulaski Technical College will increase by 5.5 percent beginning with the fall 2013 semester.
The Pulaski Technical College Board of Trustees approved the increase during a regular meeting Jan. 28 and also approved changes to some fees. The Board reviews tuition adjustments in January each year in order to give current and new students plenty of time to prepare for the fall semester and to publicize the information.
Tuition costs will increase $5 per credit hour, from $90 to $95. Although the majority of fees will remain the same for the 2013-14 academic school year, the board approved the following four fee changes:
· A new Technology Fee of $7 per credit hour. The fee will help maintain and expand student computer labs and facilities, academic technologies, web-based services and campuswide technology projects.
· A new Library Fee of $10 per semester to cover the cost of maintaining library hardware and software, student printing consumables (toner and paper), subscription costs for journals, databases, and other enrichment resources.
· The Special Course Fee will increase from $15 to $30 per course.
· The fee to take the COMPASS test will increase from $10 to $20, and the cost to retake the test will increase from $5 to $10. However, as an incentive to get students to prepare before taking the assessment, the college will waive the test fee for first-time students who complete a COMPASS preparation program either online or at one of the college’s sites.
For fall, a full-time student taking 15 hours will pay about $1,781 for tuition and fees, depending on the course of study.
“It’s with a heavy heart that we come to the table to consider tuition increases each January,” said Ronald Dedman, chairman of the college’s Board of Trustees. “We know that our students struggle, and we take that into consideration while also weighing the infrastructure needs of the college. We have to remain viable.”
The tuition increase is expected to generate $1.2 million in additional revenue for the college.
Pulaski Tech, with an enrollment of about 12,000, is the state’s largest two-year college and the fourth largest among all colleges in the state. It is also the nation’s 16th fastest-growing college among all colleges with more than 10,000 students, according to a recent report by Community College Week.
“With that growth, we have to look at viable sources of funding,” said Dr. Margaret Ellibee, college president. “Budgets are tight, and we have finite resources.”
Unlike most of the state’s two-year colleges, Pulaski Tech does not receive any tax revenue from the communities it serves. The only funding sources are from the state and tuition revenues.
Pulaski Technical College is a comprehensive, two-year college that serves the educational needs of central Arkansas through more than 76 occupational/technical degree and certificate programs, a university-transfer curriculum and specialized programs for business and industry. The college’s mission is to provide access to high quality education that promotes student learning, to enable individuals to develop to their fullest potential and to support the economic development of the state.
It will be a surprise if four-year colleges are not far behind. Costs rise. State funding isn't likely to rise as a percentage of support. And the lottery scholarships diminish in value.