The Weatherford College board of trustees Thursday approved the implementation of “differential tuition” for the college’s allied health programs, starting in the 2014-15 academic year.
College administrators have been studying the possibility of charging more per credit hour for courses that are more costly to operate. Andra Cantrell, vice president of financial and administrative affairs, came back with a suggestion of charging an extra $20 per credit hour for allied health programs such as sonography, respiratory therapy, radiology technology and nursing.
Those programs are a primary focus of the college’s Wise County campus.
Cantrell told trustees she found four other Texas community colleges that currently charge differential tuition – and noted many more discussing the possibility.
Allied health programs were selected as a starting point because the programs require smaller class sizes, expensive equipment and a higher cost for qualified faculty.
The estimated increase in revenue is $174,340 for the upcoming academic year. That won’t cover the actual cost of the programs, but officials say it will help close the gap.
“We don’t want to scare off students,” WC President Dr. Kevin Eaton said. “Even with an increase we are still a third of the cost of a university. You may have five or 10 less applicants, but we will have no problem filling our programs.”
Cantrell noted that most of the programs have two or three times as many applicants as they have openings.
Overall tuition at WC will also increase next year by the following amounts:
- $4 per semester credit hour or 5 percent for in-district students;
- $6 per semester credit hour or 5 percent for out-of-district students;
- $6 per semester credit hour or 6 percent for out-of-district WC Wise County campus students;
- $6 per semester credit hour or 6 percent increase for out-of-district Granbury campus students;
- $3 per semester credit hour or 2 percent for out-of-state students.
Board members also got a construction update on the Don Allen Health Science Building on the main campus in Weatherford. The facility is ahead of schedule and should open in early May.
They also heard the president’s report, which recognized numerous college employees for achievements, including:
- The Vocational Nursing Program, for achieving a 100 percent pass rate on the 2013 NCLEX Exam – the licensure exam for VN students. Of the 22 programs which received a 100 percent pass rate nationally, WC had the most test takers at 51.
- WC Wise County nursing students Kim Taylor, Jamie Battenfield, Lacy Garris, Sarah Ervin and Alex Talamantes, for representing WC at the Texas Student Nurses Convention Brain Bowl where they tied for first place.
The board also approved the reinstatement of the Emergency Medical Services Profession AAS Degree, along with the 2014-15 academic calendar and a transfer rate increase to help fund athletics, student activities and the Oak Leaf annual.