The Dodge City Community College (DCCC) Board of Trustees passed a series of measures increasing room and board rates and decreasing tuition rates for Ford County students at their monthly meeting on Tuesday, Jan. 28.
The changes, set to take effect this summer, will affect hundreds of students currently enrolled at the community college.
The Dodge City Community College (DCCC) Board of Trustees passed a series of measures increasing room and board rates and decreasing tuition rates for Ford County students at their monthly meeting on Tuesday, Jan. 28. The changes, set to take effect this summer, will affect hundreds of students currently enrolled at the community college. Currently, Ford County students pay $10 less per credit hour than non-Ford County students. With the changes, Ford County students will instead be paying $15 less per credit hour. About half of DCCC's students are Ford Couny residents. “We just thought and the board felt like the Ford County students should have, as taxpayers, and some of our funding comes from tax dollars, a break in tuition and fees,” Dean of Students Kelly Russell said. At the same time, the board voted to increase room and board rates for all of the college's residence halls. The increase, totaling $100 per semester, came about as the result of increased food costs and costs for wireless internet in the college's dormitories, implemented late last year. Room and board rates for the residence halls vary between buildings. This year, rates vary from $2,364 to $2,744 per semester. For the next school year, rates will vary between $2,470 and $2,860 per semester. About 18 percent of DCCC's total student population lives on campus. Among full-time students, the number is closer to one-third. Asked if she felt the room and board rate increase would negatively affect student enrollment at the college, Russell responded that she didn't anticipate the change having such an impact. “I think the increase that we have is pretty standard, that all the colleges annually have that,” Russell said. “So I do not, especially with the new residence hall the numbers are up that we have living on campus. Our retention rate is better from fall to spring than what is has been in the past. So, I do not see that changing for next year.” Also passed were changes to DCCC's scholarship program. Effective next school year, scholarships will be awarded as a flat dollar amount, instead of being incorporated into the student's tuition. “We think this will be easier for students to understand and also easier to administer,” Russell said. DCCC scholarships have an application deadline of April 30. Scholarships are also distributed under the endowment association, which disbursed approximately $50,000 last year. The move to change scholarships to a flat amount comes after a decision made one year ago to lower the amount of scholarships to a total of $800,000. “We were giving up about $1.3, $1.4 million in scholarships and the decision was made that that was just not sustainable, that to continue to make changes here at the college as far as infrastructure or as far as updating of classrooms, furniture, or computers or anything we just couldn't sustain the $1.3 million we were giving in scholarships,” Russell said. Russell claims the reduction in scholarship money has not had an adverse effect on student enrollment. “I still think that our total tuition and fees we're about right in the middle compared to other community colleges in the state and we're significantly below the regents institutions of course, so I still think that students and parents recognize that it is still a good deal at Dodge City Community College,” she said. Aside from scholarships, DCCC has a large number of students that receive federal grant money. Approximately 35 percent of DCCC students receive federal Pell Grant money. About 70 students per year perform work-study, with more involved in an institutional work-study program. Overall, Russell sees the changes as a step in the right direction. “I think they're very positive,” she said. “Any time you can reduce tuition that's a positive thing.”