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Co-Lin sweetens scholarship offerings

WESSON – The Copiah-Lincoln Community College Board of Trusteesbelieve they have gained an edge on attracting the area’s brighteststudents after they sweetened scholarships Thursday.

“We have some really good students out there and we need to finda way to attract them here,” said Dr. Ronnie Nettles, collegepresident.

Nettles proposed changing scholarships offered on the basis ofACT scores. Currently, students scoring between 20 and 24 on theACT are offered an honors scholarship that covers half the tuitioncost, and those scoring 25 or higher are offered a dean’sscholarship covering the full tuition cost.

Essentially, Nettles recommended the creation of three new ACTscholarships.

The vice president’s scholarship will be offered to students whoscore a 27 or 28 on the ACT and include full tuition and a $500 persemester bookstore stipend. The president’s scholarship, for ascore of 29 or above on the ACT and a national merit achievement,would also add free room and board at the college. A valedictorianor salutatorian will be offered a $1,000 scholarship that wouldstack on top of the academic scholarship they received.

Nettles said a cost analysis conducted by the school showed thathad those changes been in effect during the 2008-09 year, the valuefor students would have been approximately $69,000.

The cost of the increased scholarships will be consideredcollege expenses and will not be taken from the school’sfoundation, he said.

The board also approved a contingency budget for thecollege.

The board cannot set a permanent budget until the statelegislature approves a budget because the state appropriations forcolleges have not been determined, Nettles said. However, the boardmust decide how to proceed in order to continue to do business inan organized manner.

“This is using our best estimate of what we expect to happen,”he said. “This also assumes we are going to get $500,000 in federalstimulus money. We have not got that yet.”

Following the meeting, Nettles said the $500,000 figure was usedbecause it was the appropriation the college was told it wouldreceive by the state Board of Education.

“We’re hoping they’re good for it,” he said.

The contingency budget approved Thursday is only $9,000 morethan the budget for the previous year, Nettles said.

“We have not counted on any student enrollment increases nor anytuition increases … There are also no salary increases. So, youcan see that we’ve crafted a very conservative budget,” hesaid.

The college president said the board could re-evaluate thebudget when they had firm figures from the state to work with.

“I think this is the best we can do to move forward at thispoint,” Nettles said. “We are in far better condition than someother (schools).”

Nettles said some colleges have been struggling to determine howthey would proceed without tuition raises, program cuts or othermeasures.

In other matters, the board agreed to begin issuing $4 millionin bonds for the construction of a one-story Health ScienceBuilding on the Natchez campus.

Construction would begin in the fall for the building, whichwould include classrooms for respiratory care and practical nursingand a computer lab and biology lab as well as two general useclassrooms. Construction is expected to take 14 months.