New budget holds line on in-district tuition

Dr. Stephen B. Kinslow, ACC President and John Hernandez, Board Chair

President/CEO Stephen B. Kinslow, left, and Board Chair John Hernandez deliberate the FY08 budget during Monday night’s Board of Trustees meeting. Photo taken by Dawn Jones-Garcia of The Daily Texan.

The ACC District Board of Trustees approved a $185 million operating budget for next year that leaves in-district tuition unchanged but increases other tuition rates – $8 per credit hour for out-of-district students and $25 for out-of-state – while raising the general student fee by $2 per credit hour.

Ivan Doyle - ACC Student

Ivan Doyle.

Ivan Doyle, ACC Student Government vice president, speaking for himself said he understood why the board included a fee increase in the FY2007-2008 budget.

“Any anger resulting from this decision should be directed toward the Capitol,” he said.

Texas Gov. Rick Perry slashed $7.6 million in state appropriations for the college’s next two budget cycles ($3.5 million for FY08).

ACC staff initially recommended a $5 increase in the general fee to offset the cut. However, the board passed a smaller fee increase alongside reductions in institutional advancement, master planning, and deferred maintenance funding.

“The decision to raise fees or tuition is never an easy one,” said John Hernandez, Board of Trustees chair. “Should the state reconsider its funding cuts, the board could revisit the fee structure and adjust it accordingly.”

As the administration sought to make districtwide reductions, leaders made a point to preserve student support funding.

“The bulk of students entering college for the first time rely on our free student support services,” said Dr. Steve Kinslow, president/CEO. “To ensure their success and the college’s success in narrowing the education gap, we must avoid cutbacks in those services that make ACC unique from other higher ed institutions.”

In the meantime, Doyle says he is writing his state representatives and the local papers to tell give them a firsthand account of the impact the state’s decision is making on students.

“It’s sad to think that further funding cuts from the Legislature could make community colleges unaffordable for many students.”

Highlights of the FY08 budget include:

  • Clinical Education Center (Seton Nursing Initiative), $252,000
  • Games Development Institute, $431,123
  • Auto Body Repair Program, $48,500
  • Radio-TV-Film studio upgrade, $357,185
  • Cypress Creek Campus services expansion, $818,000
  • 30 new full-time faculty positions
  • No tuition increase for in-district students (about 75 percent of student body)
  • $8 out-of-district tuition increase
  • $25 out-of-state tuition increase
  • 4 percent cost-of-living adjustment for all employees

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