Friday, July 12, 2024

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ACC students could pay higher fees starting this fall

Alamance Community College’s trustees are being asked to consider increasing student activity fees, starting with the upcoming 2022-23 academic year that begins in August.

Those “adjustments” – as they were characterized during an initial discussion with the trustees’ budget and finance committee Tuesday afternoon – would generate approximately $230,000 per semester for the community college, according to ACC’s chief finance officer C.D. Crepps.

Student activity fees currently generate about $90,000 per year in revenue for ACC, whereas the proposed higher fees would generate about $320,000 in annual revenue, Crepps said.

According to Crepps, a comparison of student activity fees revealed that ACC had the lowest student activity fees (a flat fee of $15 per semester for all students) among seven other community colleges in the Piedmont-Triad region, based on data that Crepps provided to the committee (see accompanying chart).

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However, those figures were current for the 2019-20 academic year and were the latest period available from the North Carolina Community Colleges System (NCCCS), Crepps told the budget and finance committee.

Moreover, the annual survey of student fees that the NCCCS compiled for 2019-20 revealed that ACC had the lowest student fees of all 58 community colleges in the state, based on information that Crepps provided Tuesday afternoon.

ACC’s trustees had delayed taking action last fall on a proposal to double the existing student fees from $15 per semester to $30 per semester. Those changes would’ve taken effect for the current, spring 2022 semester.

The student fees are used to offset a portion of the local community college’s costs for instructional technology; campus parking and security; activities such as the Student Government Association; and similar services that benefit students.

ACC currently charges all students the following fees each semester:
• $6 semester (student activities);
• $6 semester (parking and security);
• $3 semester (set aside in a reserve fund for unforeseen expenses).

The proposed fees for student activities and parking would be based on the number of credit hours each student is enrolled in.

The student activities fee could be increased from the current flat rate of $6 per semester to the following:
• $24 per semester for students enrolled in 12 hours or more;
• $16 per semester for six credit hours or more; or
• $8 per semester for those enrolled in less than six credit hours.

Fees for parking and security also would be based on the number of credit hours a student is taking each semester.

The proposed fees for parking and security are as follows:
• Students enrolled in 12 credit hours or more would pay $9 per semester;
• $6 per semester for six credit hours or more;
• $3 per semester for those enrolled in less than 6 hours.

ACC officials aren’t proposing to charge a parking and security fee to students enrolled in online classes.

The community college historically hasn’t charged a fee for instructional technology but would add a new technology fee, beginning with the upcoming 2022-23 academic year.

Degree- and credential-seeking students could pay an instructional technology fee of $1 per credit hour, while continuing education students would pay $5 per course for instructional technology.

The $3 portion of the student activity fee that’s set aside in reserve would decrease by 50 cents per semester for all students, from the existing flat rate of $3 per semester, to a flat rate of $2.50 per semester.

“It’s been a long time” since any adjustments were made to the student activity fees, said ACC trustee Carl Steinbicker, who serves as chairman of the trustees’ budget and finance committee.

Both Steinbicker and trustee Bill Gomory, who also serves on the budget and finance committee, said it’s always hard to contemplate increasing fees for students.
“What we’re asking is fair,” Gomory added.

“Do you have a sense of how much of the total [increase] would be covered by grants?” asked ACC trustee Pete Glidewell, who along with Cynthia Winters, rounds out the budget and finance committee’s members.

“About 45 to 50 percent of our students are eligible for financial aid,” Crepps responded. “I would say a little bit less than half would be coming out of our students’ pockets.”

Steinbicker told his fellow budget and finance committee members that the proposed fee increase will likely be presented to the full board for a vote in April.

See other ACC news coverage from this week’s edition:

ACC to ask commissioners for more money to cover increased costs of projects which were to be financed with bond referendum money:

ACC will grant bonuses to all staff:

And read our editorial comment on these ACC issues: “ACC math”

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