Posted at 5 p.m. Nov. 8, 2016

Tuition rates to remain steady

Commission decides against rate changes for next two years

If we talk about eliminating a program that has one individual tied to it, we’ll sit down with that person and help prepare them, so that they’re sort of ahead of it.

Dr. Joe Schaffer

LCCC President

The Laramie County Community College Board of Trustees heard an update by President Dr. Joe Schaffer on why the Wyoming Community College Commission decided to set the current tuition rate of $89 per credit hour for in-state students and $267 for out-of-state students for the next two years. The board met on Oct. 19 at the new Laramie High School.

Tuition Policy

Schaffer said the WCCC was considering changing tuition policy in spring of 2016.

The WCCC asked for feedback from Wyoming’s community college presidents as well as the board on what they would like to see from a tuition policy. Possible changes included removal of the 12-credit cap on per-credit-hour tuition, in-district versus out-of-district tuition rates and differential rates by program.

“The goal was to look at a tuition policy that would provide stability for the colleges in terms of the duration that it’s set for and help with some of the decreased revenue that was happening as a result of the pullback of state funding,” Schaffer said.

“One of the struggles we had is there is no philosophy behind the tuition policy, and it changes,” Schaffer said. “Tuition policy that is fair that will generate revenue that will cover a certain cost of the education is one policy statement. Using tuition to motivate students to do something is another policy statement… We (the board) have never had that conversation, and so every time this comes up, we have the same circular debate over and over and as a result, we don’t do anything.”

“At the end, they (the WCCC) opted not to touch the cap at all, but they did agree to set tuition for two years, which is something we wanted for stability, and voted on that,” Schaffer said. “Afterwards, I grabbed some of the presidents and said, ‘You realize that they just froze tuition at its current rate for two years. So as you go through your budget cuts, you will not have any increased tuition revenue.’ So that’s where they ended up; what happens from here, I don’t know.”

“The good news is we do have a very stable tuition picture for students and it does not increase in the coming years. And there is truly benefit to that,” Schaffer said. “The downside is there will not be any revenue coming from tuition unless enrollment increases overall to pick up some of the budget gap.”

CORE Update

Schaffer said the revenues and efficiencies committees have been taking a look at various programs at LCCC to determine how they’ll handle the coming budget cuts. These recommendations were given to the president’s cabinet on Oct. 17.

“We have two different tracks of processes to the CORE Initiative,” Schaffer said. “One is identifying revenue enhancements and efficiency enhancements, and the other one is program prioritization.”

Schaffer said there were more than 100 efficiency ideas submitted by the committees. Schaffer said the cabinet will have begun creating draft recommendations for the budget on Oct. 31.

“Essentially as of Nov. 4, the conceptual ideas will be on the streets,” Schaffer said. He also added the cabinet plans to finalize its decisions on Nov. 29.

“When we make our recommendations and actually come up with a decision, I will be able to tell you, without a doubt, that we’re making evidence-based, objective decisions of what we think will damage the institution the least and perhaps even reposition the institution,” Schaffer said.

Schaffer also said he is concerned for the LCCC faculty who may lose their jobs due to programs being cut. He said he plans to let the faculty know prior to their program’s elimination.

“If we talk about eliminating a program that has one individual tied to it, we’ll sit down with that person and help prepare them, so that they’re sort of ahead of it.”

Naming of college spaces

The board approved the recommendation by the LCCC Foundation to name the Pathfinder building the Clay Pathfinder building. Schaffer said John and Esther Clay have made very large donations to LCCC in the past and have already had the Fine Arts Gallery named after them in honor of their generosity. The Clays have been making consistent donations to the college for many years.

“Their past and future gifts will be the single largest contribution that the college has ever received,” Schaffer said.

LCCC also received a significant donation from Spradley Barr Motors, Inc. The board approved the motion to name the Flexible meeting areas, rooms FT 115 and 116, in the Flex-Tech building after Spradley Barr Motors, Inc. in honor of the gift.

While the Foundation’s director of corporate development and major gifts, Ann Nelson, said the exact amount the Clays donated could not be disclosed, the Clays fall under the donation category of Cum Laude by donating $250,000 or more. Additionally, Spradley Barr Motors, Inc. falls within the steward donation category, by donating between $100,000 to $249,999.


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