Weatherford News

WC hears of ‘record’ enrollments, proposed tuition increase

Despite being down 20 students over this time last year, Weatherford College is still reporting record enrollment for the fall and spring semesters, trustees learned Thursday.

In his President’s Report, Dr. Kevin Eaton said 5,251 students were enrolled for spring but that a total of 10,968 students - up 105 students - for fall and spring was a record for an academic year. He added that 1,899 online students took courses, up 7.1 percent from this time last year, which could’ve affected the face-to-face number.

“As more offerings become available, a lot more students will be taking online courses in the future,” Eaton said.

Of all campuses, Wise County was the only one that saw an increase in spring enrollment numbers, posting a 6.5 percent hike.

Demographically, WC is 63 percent female, 37 percent male with a 14.8 percent Hispanic and 2.7 percent African American population. The remaining percentage is white.

After Eaton’s report, Andra Cantrell, vice president of financial and administrative affairs, updated the board on recommended tuition changes for the 2014-15 academic year. The recommendations will be voted on next month and, if approved as presented, will include a $4 per credit hour increase for in-district students to $80, a $6 per credit hour increase for out-of-district students to $124 and a $3 per credit hour increase for out-of-state students to $176.

Despite the hike, Cantrell said WC would still remain a much more affordable option for students and generate about $573,000 in tuition and fee revenue for the college.

“We looked at other nearby community colleges and compared their out-of-district cost with our in-district cost to make certain that we would not lose students across county lines because of price,” Cantrell said.

Additionally, she explained there were some fees that were recommended to be increased. A lost library book, for example, would increase from $10 to $20; a $25 per semester housing increase at Coyote Village to cover utilities and maintenance; replacing lost room keys at Coyote Village from $20 to $50; and a new charge for printing of 10 cents per page for black and white and 15 cents for color.

“In the past, we hadn’t really been charging, except for copying, but with everyone using computers and our labs now, we’ve decided to recommend a fee for printed pages,” Cantrell said.

Cantrell also discussed the need to consider differential tuition for special programs such as Allied Health. Cantrell said she found five colleges in Texas that charge higher tuition and/or fees for more expensive programs.

Weatherford College President Dr. Kevin Eaton told the board while nursing students at WC pay about $3,000 in tuition per year, at UT Arlington the same program costs around $9,000.

“We’ve been talking about [differential tuition] for two years now and I think it’s time to move forward with it,” he said.

Eaton added that a lot of the specialty programs at WC barely cover the cost of the instructor so if an increase that could help the college pay for that is considered, that would be a “huge help.”

Cantrell said it’s still “under study” but could be brought up at next month’s meeting for consideration.

In other business, the Board:

• Approved the disposal of obsolete and surplus items through online auction and e-waste recycling with Lone Star Auctioneers. Items include office furniture, computers and computer equipment, audio-visual gear, cameras and other various items.

• Approved the purchase of welding equipment and supplies from two vendors –– Airgas, Inc. in the amount of $129,206.04 and Phillips Welding in the amount of $45,441.62. Funds for these purchases are allocated in the Skills Development Grant funding through Continuing Education.

• Approved naming Classroom 107 in the Academic Building the “Carol Eppright Classroom” in honor of her $40,000 donation to the WC Foundation to establish an endowed scholarship.