PARK HILLS – The Mineral Area College Board of Trustees voted to raise the college’s tuition rates.
The new rates, which will be effective this summer, will be $66 per credit hour for in-district college students and $90 for out-of-district college students. The out-of-state rate will be $114 per credit hour.
According to a Missouri Community College Tuition Survey, only Ozarks Technical Community College, East Central Community College, North Central Missouri College, and Metropolitan Community College have in-district rates higher than or the same as MAC’s rates.
However, six of the 12 community college – including Three Rivers Community College – have higher out-of-district rates than MAC.
The college had charged $6 a credit hour for a technology fee. MAC President Dr. Terry Barnes said the college did away with the actual fee, folding the fee into the tuition rate per credit hour.
The tuition rate had been $52 a credit hour plus the $6 per credit hour technology fee for a total of $58 a credit hour. Barnes said they actually increased the tuition rate $8 a credit hour.
For students who take 12 credits a semester, the annual increase is only $192, he said.
While nearby community colleges like St. Louis and Jefferson are now lower than MAC, he doesn’t expect that to last long. Barnes believes many other community colleges will increase their tuition by the end of the semester.
Barnes feels the college is still very competitive. Barnes said the cost of education at MAC is still half as expensive as Southeast Missouri State University.
Barnes added the college will try to hold down costs on lab fees.
The college decided to raise tuition rates again because the state is threatening more cuts next fiscal year, which begins July 1. Barnes said he believes the college could lose about $600,000 in state aid next fiscal year.
The college was just hit with a state aid withholding of $161,000 this month. Barnes said he expects even more withholdings in May or June.
Barnes said the college has saved some money back. And when the college adjusted its budget recently, the college was $600,000 ahead of projections. Barnes believes they had more revenue this year because of an increase in tuition and an increase in enrollment.
Barnes said he spoke to members of the student body about the increase Thursday before the board meeting. Barnes said students seemed to appreciate that the college was staying pretty much in the middle with the cost of out-of-district and out-of-state tuition. Barnes said the students he spoke with understood the situation the college is in.
Don Hawkins of Park Hills, a sophomore at MAC, was one of several students to meet with the college president Thursday. He didn’t seem to mind the college was increasing tuition because he said “everybody else is raising theirs.”
In other matters, the college awarded several contracts for construction projects on the main campus.
The general contractor award was given to Brockmiller Construction, who will also be building the Fredericktown campus. Barnes expects construction on both campuses to start soon.
Barnes said Aschinger got the bid for electrical projects, GWS got the bid for plumbing and Sheet Metal Contractors got the bid for heating and air conditioning.
Barnes said the projects will cost the college $2.96 million. The cost does not include the upgrade of lighting, parking lot and street improvements or the quadrangle project. Those projects will be put off until next summer. The cost also does not include new furniture.
The campus improvements were made possible because voters approved a bond issue last year. The college will add on to the Fine Arts building and will make several renovations to the aging college.
In other matters, the college made a couple of changes to policies.
The college board voted to adopt a revised refund policy. Students will now only have two weeks to drop a course and still get their money back. It had previously been four weeks.
Students will get 100 percent back if they drop a class before school starts, 90 percent if they drop it within the first two weeks and zero back if they drop it after the two weeks.
The college revised their tuition/fee payment policy so that all fees must be paid by the second week of school.
Barnes said they made the changes to improve cash flow and to tighten up their business practices.