Co-Lin board approves tuition hike

Published 6:00 am Friday, April 5, 2002

WESSON — Copiah-Lincoln Community College trustees Thursdayapproved a $100 a semester full-time student tuition increase asschool officials try to offset reductions in state funding.

Co-Lin President Dr. Howell Garner said the recommendation toraise full-time tuition from $600 to $700 a semester and part-timetuition from $75 -$85 per semester hour came after the budgetcommittee met with the administration Monday. Other recommendationsaccepted included continuing to leave a number of teachingpositions unfilled and continuing a conservative approach in allareas of spending.

More severe actions were not needed as state lawmakers allocatedaround $10.6 million in one-time bridge funds to community collegesfor the new fiscal year that starts July 1. Still, Garner said,state community colleges will have $9.3 million less next year thanthis year, and the one-time funding will leave schools in aquandary in future years.

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“It’s a bigger patch on a flat tire than what it was before,”Garner said.

Over a three-year period, Garner said, community colleges haveexperienced a 24 percent reduction in state funding support.

In actual dollars, the net decrease for Co-Lin has been $2.1million. Garner said the tuition increase was an effort to try anmake up some of the difference.

In personnel action, Garner said the school will carry over 18unfilled staff positions from fiscal year 2002 to 2003.

“Some of those have been unfilled for three years,” Garnersaid.

Garner said the administration expects to present trustees witha fiscal year 2003 budget at the May meeting. The board will studythe spending plan and approve a budget in June.

Garner expected personnel levels to remain fairly constant.

“We don’t anticipate any layoffs,” said Garner, adding thatthere will be a usual number of retirements and resignations at theend of the current year.

News was not all bad during Thursday’s meeting.

Members of the Copiah County Board of Supervisors presented withcollege with two checks totaling $124,400.

The one-time money represents a surplus collected by the countyfrom its property tax levy to benefit the school. Of the total,$37,000 was from the district maintenance levy and $87,400 was fromthe college district improvement fund.

In other business, trustees approved Dr. Terry Puckett to assistthe college with a Capital Campaign feasibility study. Puckettfounded a two-year college in Arkansas and now helps colleges withcapital improvements fund-raising campaigns, said Allen Kent,director of the Co-Lin Foundation.

School officials are planning the campaign for later this yearand it will culminate in 2003, which is the 75th anniversary of thecollege, Kent said.

Two school programs received “glowing reviews” during recentaccreditation site visits, said Natalie Davis, Co-Lin publicinformation officer. The school’s Associate Degree Nursing programwas accredited for eight years by its oversight agency and theVocational-Technical program garnered high marks in a visit by thestate Department of Education, Davis said.