Board raises MCCC tuition 9 percent


Students will pay $8 more for each credit hour next year, following a decision by the college Board of Trustees.
The meeting was held April 22 at the Whitman Center, MCCC’s second campus in Temperance.
Much was covered in the three-hour meeting, but the tuition increase consumed the most time.
“We’re recommending a 9.1 percent increase in tuition,” Suzanne Wetzel, vice president of administration, told the board. 
“We’re also recommending an increase in the technology fee,” she said.
The percentage translates to an increase from $84 to $92 dollars per credit hour.
The new technology fee will jump from $10 to $12 next fall. In the same semester, registration fees will rise by $5.
Wetzel used a series of calculations as well as tables and graphs to explain why the board decided to increase tuition.
As student enrollment drops and revenue from local property taxes dwindles, the college’s revenue takes a plunge into a pool of deficits.
Wetzel said a 3 percent raise would still leave revenues in the negative by $305,980. A 10 percent increase would bump the total out of the negative range to $184,000.
“We only get into the position if we increase it to 9 percent,” she said.
“If we didn’t do anything, we would lose $586,980,000 in revenue,” Joe Verkennes said after the meeting. Verkennes is the director of marketing at MCCC.
Other sources of revenue and expenses, such as the college’s child care center, are being evaluated to avoid further tuition increases.
“There are other things we are still plugging at,” Verkennes said.
“We’re between a rock and a hard place. There are students having a hard time paying,” board member Mary Kay Thayer said about the tuition raise.
A motion was made to approve the raise and it passed unanimously.
“This makes me sick to my stomach,” Thayer said, when the call to vote came.
On a brighter note, updates were presented on the new Career Technology Center (CTC) building and the Capital Campaign.
“The building is on schedule and should be turned over to us by the end of June,” Jim Blumberg, director of the Physical Plant, said.
The building currently is 90 percent completed, he said. Joshua Myers, head of the Capital Campaign, presented a robust outlook on the project, which is collecting funds to finance the Career Technology Center.
The total for the campaign is over $1.8 million, Myers said, with $67,000 donated by college employees in the internal portion of the campaign.
“We’re 86 percent completed on that constructed total,” he said.
At least 70 percent of employees have contributed to the campaign, he said.
“These are people who haven’t received raises,” Myers said about the employees.
“That’s a huge story to us to be able to tell to donors,” he said.
The internal campaign will last until the end of May.
“I think we are the light at the end of the tunnel,” he said.
The issue of hiring a director at the Whitman Center also was discussed.
“We need a director,” said Judith Hamburg, of the Concerned Citizens for the Whitman Center.
Hamburg also addressed a concern that Rachel Eagle, a part-time administrative assistant, will be on maternity leave.
“So I ask you, please get us a secretary,” she said.
Hamburg also criticized a new pilot model that involves leaving the director’s position open, instead staffing the facility with administrators, deans and directors from the main campus.
Dr. Grace Yackee, Vice President of Instruction and Randy Daniels, Vice President of Student and Information Services, reported earlier in the meeting
 about the structure’s findings.
“It’s appearing to be much more functional than the previous structure,” Yackee said.
“I don’t see much interaction out of that office,” Hamburg said, as she argued about the effectiveness of the model.
“You say a lot of nice things, but we need a director,” she told the board.
“We feel students are very well served. We want to be an effective model,” Yackee said.
As a result of the looming budget issues and lingering economic crisis, the Whitman Center will soon be closing its doors for the summer, beginning June 1.
“I am not happy about this, but I don’t see any options,” board member Mary Kay Thayer said.
A concern was raised whether students should call the center during the summer.
Yackee said phone service will be connected to an administrative assistant on the main campus.
“There’s never a time when someone will not answer,” Yackee said.
Other developments:
• A new professor will be teaching in the Graphic Design field. A contract was approved for Bradley Hesser, associate professor of Graphic Design. His contract begins in August.
• Jennifer Yarger, instructional support technician, will be resigning from her post.
• Deborah Beagle, director of Financial Services, presented a report on an increasing number of students who have been mailed notices for non-payment.
• Vice Chairman William Braunlich initiated a motion to grant President Nixon “emeritus” status on his retirement, effective July 31, 2013. Motion was approved.