07/23/13 — Wayne Community College prepares for tuition hike

View Archive

Wayne Community College prepares for tuition hike

By Phyllis Moore
Published in News on July 23, 2013 1:46 PM

Students at Wayne Community College are getting a quality education for the money, even though the price tag for that education keeps going up, President Dr. Kay Albertson told the board Monday night.

Grants and financial aid are helping, she said, but at the same time, there have been tuition increases to offset recent funding shortfalls.

And now, officials are also awaiting the outcome of the state budget vote, expected today, which could further impact community college funding.

"I think it's probably a little too early now. They gave us the money, but they took it from other places," Dr. Albertson said. "We're just going to have to wait and see, until we can see some final numbers."

Institutional funds have continued to grow all year, with new grants and increased funding from federal grants, said Joy Kornegay, chief financial officer.

"We actually ended in a very good position," she said. "We were able to cover all expenditures (and) didn't have to carry anything forward."

Students benefited from $8.8 million in financial aid during this fiscal year, Mrs. Kornegay said. Work-study funds paid students $118,715, and scholarships totaled $690,014, of which $206,698 was awarded from the WCC Foundation. Pell and SEOG (Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grant) awards were also up, with $8 million in funding given to students, compared to $7.1 million for the previous year. Students also received $6.9 million in direct loans.

According to the college's quarterly grant report, more than $3 million was awarded for the first quarter of the current fiscal year, including $15,000 from Duke Progress Energy to support Camp Kilowatt, an alternative energy summer camp for middle and high school students on the WCC campus.

While enrollment for the college's summer classes is not as much of a concern -- there are fewer courses and fewer faculty members on campus and the numbers aren't as closely monitored by the state -- that will soon change.

Registration began last week for the fall semester, which starts Aug. 12. The president said she is not "alarmed" by preliminary enrollment figures.

"The numbers for fall appear very, very good at this particular time," she said. "We're at 3,217 as compared to last year at the same time, when we had 3,158."

There are still additional registration times remaining, Dr. Albertson said, and officials are looking at adding some "creative classes."

"We have been talking about 10-week and 12-week classes," she said. "That gives those students who come in last-minute and apply for financial aid, to have a few more weeks and then they come in and don't have to wait for the next semester.

"We're looking to break last year's mark. I will be happy to break even. I believe we can get there."

One obstacle has been tuition prices, which are slated to go up $2.50 a credit hour and $5 a course in continuing education.

"Every year there seems to be another increase," she said. "We believe that has hurt our enrollment in con ed. Some people that would come back for short-term and training (classes) might have to look at their pocketbook in another way.

"For the most part, because of getting so much financial aid, they're OK. It's still the best bang for the buck. For our students, adding $2.50 a credit hour hurts. Even with financial aid, it takes away from something else that they may be using it for. But we're still the best bargain around."