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Decrease in State Funding and New Technology Results in $5 a Credit Hour Tuition Bump at JALC

BY STEVE O’KEEFE
Logan Media Services

CARTERVILLE – The John A. Logan College Board of Trustees voted Tuesday night to increase tuition $5 per credit hour beginning with the summer term.

Despite the increase, Logan will continue to have one of the lowest tuition rates in the state at $97 per credit hour.

Brad McCormick, Vice President for Business Services and College Facilities, said all area community colleges with the exception of Rend Lake College had indicated that they would be asking for tuition increases.

McCormick said Rend Lake College plans to remain at $96 per credit hour for the coming year. The $5 increase, he said, will be used for technology and will also eliminate a $10 fee currently associated with online classes. He added that $3 will be allocated for payments to replace the college’s aging administrative software system.

JALC is one of only four campuses in the nation using the higher education version of the APECS system. The upgraded system will take up to three years to implement, will allow the college to better track student success, and allow for more accurate data reporting and institutional research.

“We currently have a number of shadow systems generating reports because we cannot rely on the current system to give us adequate information, which is completely unacceptable,” said Vice President for Instructional Services Dr. Deborah Payne.

The other $2 of the credit-hour increase will go into the college’s general fund to help offset delays in state funding.

Several board members noted the current financial climate in Illinois when making their decision regarding tuition. At present, the state has made no payments for equalization or apportionment during the first six months of the fiscal year and the college has only received approximately $400,000 of the budgeted $12.7 million owed by the state for FY 13.

Trustee Jake Rendleman stated that he believed that all of higher education, not just universities, could see a 4-to-5 percent reduction in funding for the upcoming year.

Six board members approved the tuition increase with Student Trustee Joe Venable voting no. Trustee Don Brewer was not present.

Venable thanked the board and the administration for their deliberation in arriving at the tuition increase. He said he believed they had made a good proposal and had arrived at a fair increase that had the best interest of the institution in mind, but as the representative of the student body, he felt that he could not support a tuition increase.

Prior to the vote, Trustee John Sanders spoke on behalf of the board.

“None of us are big fans of this, and this is not something we take lightly,” he said. “Last year, we pored over this and thought about this hard and voted to not increase tuition. But, the situation with the state is worse this year. I think this is a reasonable increase and I applaud the administration for how conscientously they have looked at this.

“You know, as I have looked at this and talked to other trustees nationally, I found that we are at the low end nationally in regards to tuition, and compared to universities, we are considerably lower. It’s a shame our state will not do what it is constitutionally obligated to do and now we are stuck with this and our students are stuck with this.”

Board Chairman Mike Hopkins echoed Sanders.

“None of us want to increase tuition, but we also want to see the college grow in the excellence of programs we offer,” he said. “With the state in the financial shape that it is in, we have to be the ones to make the hard decision. I would like to add that our tuition has no hidden fees associated with it and I applaud the administration for that.”

In other board news, Rendleman reported that the JALC Foundation is currently looking at dates in May for the Annual Benefit Dinner to be held at Walker’s Bluff. Rendleman also reported the Foundation had received a sizeable donation from the estate of a Herrin family to be used for scholarships in math and science.

Rendleman said the donation was a surprise to the Foundation and that there would be a future announcement as more information becomes available. Rendleman also reported that the Foundation would be focusing on kicking off a capital campaign in 2013 and could possibly host a concert fundraiser at the upcoming Street Machine Nationals at the Du Quoin State Fairgrounds.

Rendleman added that the Athletic Department’s bowling tournament fundraiser would be held this Sunday (Jan. 28). Several individuals had paid for lanes, but could not attend. So, the Athletic Department has offered those lanes to different departments on campus as a way of bringing the campus community together.

In officer’s reports, McCormick reported that the Board Building Committee had met and reviewed plans for the upcoming remodel of the new West Frankfort Extension Center. He clarified to the board that the agenda item to approve the cost to remodel the building represented the maximum amount if the college were to implement every upgrade to the facility.

McCormick said Logan can only afford $800,000 for the project, but the ICCCB requires that all possible amounts be approved by the board, which was why the agenda item was for $1,109,641.

Dr. Tim Daugherty, Vice President for Administration, provided the board with a report detailing in-district residency. He explained that there are several points of entry for students at the college, including dual credit, business and industry. He said the college audit found that some students that claimed to be in-district were actually out of district students.

As a result, JALC has implemented new measures to verify residency. He said he would continue to update the board regarding this matter. Daugherty also reported that he expected spring enrollment to see a small increase or be equal to last spring’s enrollment of 6,867. Tenth-day enrollment numbers are not in yet, but will be available at the February board meeting.

Dr. Deborah Payne, Vice President for Instructional Services, reported that a committee comprised of the administration, full-time faculty, and non-teaching professionals had selected Desire2Learn as the college’s new learning management system.

Payne said Desire 2 Learn will replace JALC’s current two-system approach to online content delivery. Not only is the new system a cost savings to the college, she said, but it also was the system currently used by SIU.

“While the fact that this is the system that SIU uses did not factor into our decision to select this system, it will provide a seamless transition for students particularly in the education program,” she said.

Payne also reported on the success of the recent Snow Man Shuffle. Payne thanked the staff of the Community Health Education Complex for organizing the event that saw over 300 participants in the 5K run and walk, as well as Fun Run. Despite the cold temperatures, she said, all involved had a good time.

JALC President Dr. Mike Dreith reported that the steering committee for the strategic plan had recently met with consultant Tom Wunderle and had a very productive meeting to discuss the SWOT analysis and environmental scan that Wunderle had conducted.

The board approved the following consent agenda items: protection health safety compliance roof replacement to the south E-Wing; request to remodel the West Frankfort Extension Center; purchase of 78 desktop and 27 laptop Dell computers; approval of a new HVAC and green building certificate program; joint agreement with Rend Lake College for mine safety and health administration students.

In addition to the tuition increase, the board approved the following new business: adoption of Desire2Learn as the College’s learning management system; resolution to issue debt certificates associated with the selection, purchase, and implementation of a new ERP (enterprise resource planning system); contract with campus works for assistance in selecting and implementing the new ERP system; approval of a contract with Occupational Performance and Rehab, pending completion and review by legal counsel; first reading (no action) of proposed revisions and additions to Board Policies 3511 (discrimination/ equal opportunity grievance policy), 5221C minimum requirements non-union operational), 5610 (volunteer staff), 8110 (admission to John A. Logan College), and 8242 (transferring credit to John A. Logan College).

The following personnel items were approved: Tina Cavanaugh, full-time, temporary, grade III, secretary III to the associate dean of ABE/ASE; Nicole Mathis, full-time, grade III, testing services clerk III; Salvador Tomas, full-time, laborers’, campus safety officer; Jeremy Cobb, full-time, laborers’, campus safety law enforcement officer; ratification of Lori Russell, full-time, grade V, secretary V to the vice president for instructional services; ratification of 14 term-faculty and 12 continuing education staff members.

For additional information, call Steve O’Keefe , extension 8569, at one of the following numbers: CARTERVILLE AND WILLIAMSON COUNTY – 985-3741 (operator) or 985-2828 (direct extension access); CARBONDALE AND JACKSON COUNTY – 549-7335 (operator) or 457-7676 (direct extension access); DU QUOIN – 542-8612; WEST FRANKFORT – 937-3438; CRAB ORCHARD, GORHAM; AND TRICO AREAS – 1-800-851-4720; AND TTY (deaf and hard of hearing) – 985-2752.