For the first time in three years, the Weatherford College Board of Trustees approved a tuition hike that will bring the college’s rates in line with last year’s state average.The previous increase took place in 2010 for the 2011-12 academic year and was about 9 percent, less than the 11 percent the administration was asking for at the time.On Thursday, however, the administration’s request for an increase was approved, mostly because the board did not want there to have be a rise in the ad valorem tax rate for 2013-14.Effective with the fall semester, tuition for in-district Parker County residents will be $76 per semester hour, a $5 or 7 percent increase; out-of-district rates will increase by $11 per semester hour to $118 and out-of-state will increase by $9 to $173 per semester hour.Andra Cantrell, Vice President of Financial and Administrative Affairs, said the increase will add about $850,000 in revenue to the college. She also said that overall registration is down about 2 percent from this time last year.Vice Chairman Joel Watson said approving the new rates was made easier knowing that taxes would not be raised when the new budget is presented over the summer.“It goes a long way for me to raise tuition and not raise taxes,” he said.Cantrell also stressed that WC’s rates would now be in line with the state average among community colleges as of last year. She said WC is always “a little behind the curveball” because registration for its fall semester begins in April, earlier than most other community colleges in the state.In addition to tuition, increased fees for some lab classes and testing costs were approved. Also, the college’s new Physical Therapist Program begins in the fall and several courses require a lab, which will now carry a fee of $24. The Associate Degree Nursing Program also added three new courses with related testing fees. There was also a $50 increase by the testing provider for three Adult Health classes offered by the college.Board chairman Frank Martin inquired as to whether the college was receiving any financial benefit from the fees. Dr. Richard Bowers, Vice President of Instruction and Student Services, said the charges for the state-required tests are simply a pass-through and that the college receives no portion of the funds. When Martin asked if the college could save money by composing and administering its own tests, Bowers said that was not an option since the tests must be certified by state and national organizations who regulate those specialties.The board meets next on April 11.
Melissa Winn, 817-594-9902, Ext. 104 Twitter: @scoopmdw3701