The Dodge City Community College board of trustees has approved student fees for the 2020-21 school year as it pertains to incidental fees that would be used to fund scholarships.
"This is an action the board must take every year so the incidental fees that we charge to students can be used for scholarships," DCCC chief finance officer Glendon Forgey said.
According to Forgey, there was a complete restructuring of tuition and fees from 2019-2020 to 2020-2021. In November 2019, the board voted to eliminate. The college had also eliminated the online tuition rate with students being charged normal tuition for their residency category.
Forgey added now that online learning is becoming more of a go-to option, especially in regards to COVID-19, if a Ford County resident was taking 12 credit hours online, the 2019-20 cost was $1,620 and now the 2020-21 cost is $1,320.
"I think this is (as) wrong as anything we do here," DCCC trustee Dan Reichenborn said. "I think it creates a real sense of entitlement, 'Student B pays for Student A's college.’
"Take a Ford County student, their parents are already paying for this place and then that student comes here and has to pay $54 a credit hour to educate a student from Alabama, we don't know but it just rubs me the wrong way."
Trustee Jim Lewis and DCCC chairman Gary Harshberger argued that students described as Student B would be eligible for Pell Grants through funding to assist with Student A.
Harshberger said Student A wouldn't be eligible for Pell Grants due to “the economic category that (Reichenborn) is espousing.”
"Even when you take our fees and tuition, we are the lowest in the state,“ he said. ”The community college from its inception was never meant to be 'free college.’ It was to create opportunity for education, not to give it way."
Harshberger said Ford County students alone could not pay for the college to be operational.
"Plus with the housing, sports pays for all the housing so we have to go out and cast a broader net to attract students from outside the area to come here so we can economically teach our Ford County students," Harshberger said.
According to DCCC president Harold Nolte, the scholarships given to students through the fees go toward “a lot of the Ford County kids. They get the Dean's Scholarship, the President's Scholarship, most of the Ford County kids get the scholarship through this fund."
Trustees approved the fees for 2020-21 with a 6-1 vote. Reichenborn was the lone nay vote.