Tuition rates increase for SCCC


Crusader illustration/Maria Lara The administration proposed the approval of a new rate structure for SCCC/ATS in the March 2 Board of Trustees meeting. SCCC/ATS remains one of the lowest costing community colleges in the region.

Tuition, housing and credit hour rates will increase for Seward County Community College in the upcoming school year, 2015-2016. There has been a state aid and inflation reduction, causing multiple colleges in the state to raise the prices for students. “We were just real fortunate that we can still offer affordable education for the students and not have to go more than that this year,” Celeste Donovan, dean of student services, said.

The administration proposed a $4 increase per credit hour for all of its tuition categories and $1 increase in fees. According to Dennis Sander, dean of finance and operations, the $1 increase will be directed to the use of internet. That is a total of a $5 increase overall. The $4 increase in tuition, plus the additional $1 towards fees will be distributed to scholarships, $7; COP retirement, $11; reserve for future expansion, $2; student activity accounts, $2; and technology, $11, equaling $33 in total for fees.

“There’s an increase in bandwidth use, as we see more and more students bringing their tablets, laptops and smartphones on campus, and using all of it more than they used to. It’s growing faster now than in the last five years,” Sander said. “They are definitely using it, so we will include it in our fee.”

Despite the $5 extra charge, SCCC/ATS remains one of the lowest in the region in regard to cost, at $84. According to Sander, the increase will be sufficient to keep operations in dorms and cafeteria working efficiently. There will also be an additional increase in charges to the Student Living Center, Mansions and Hale Court.

Unanimous board members voted in favor of a 2.19 percent increase in housing and meal rates for students living on campus. This increase was also made throughout the community colleges in Kansas. The Student Living Center, Mansions, and Hale Court apartments, whether single or double occupancy, will have an increase of $19 per semester and meal prices will increase $31 per semester.

Donovan does not expect to see a decrease in next year’s enrollment, “We always want an increase, the $4 rise in tuition, students won’t feel it as much,” she said. The minimal increase will create an additional charge of $60 per semester per student. But there is still the Seward County tuition grant and scholarships that will still cover that amount for Seward County residents.

“It’s always sad to see more cost going towards students for that, but, that’s like half of a book,” Donovan said. “So they won’t feel that.” Seward County freshman, Sindy Humaran agrees with Donovan, “It doesn’t affect me personally because I am a Seward County resident, and I get tuition.”

These changes will take effect on July 1 of this year. “The money that we collect from the students, we try to make it go back to the students within the time that they’re here,” Donovan said.

According to Donovan, there are very little cons to the increase that the board approved. “We are an affordable college, that gives excellent education to be competitive, for when our students transfer to bigger universities. The amount that they save by starting out here first, instead of starting out at a university, it’s substantial,” she said. Donovan would like to encourage students to apply for financial aid.

There is a large group of the student body that hasn’t taken time to fill out the financial aid form. Jessica Guerrero, Seward County freshman affirmed that the increase does not affect her because she applied for FAFSA and was awarded the Pell Grant. There are free services provided to students, it’s only a matter of making time for it.

The Financial Aid Office offers help every Thursday afternoon from 2:30 p.m. to 4:45 p.m. to students who need help filling out their FAFSA or have questions about the financial aid process. The Financial Aid Office is also planning an event to further extend the help by hosting a “FAFSA Frenzy” on April 30th from 3 p.m. to 6 p.m. The location has yet to be determined.