The majority of East Central College students who currently pay course fees will see a decrease in the amount they owe starting next academic year.
The college’s board of trustees approved a course fee overhaul at its recent monthly meeting that, in most cases, lowers fees in the courses that require them.
ECC President Dr. Jon Bauer said the overhaul was the result of a comprehensive study on the course fees and if they had stood the test of time.
In many cases, the course fees were no longer needed, more than what was needed or, in some cases, less than what the school needed from its students.
“In many cases, particularly in those cases when fees went down, we found that fees that were established at one point in time were either higher or no longer necessary at all for what was intended,” Bauer said.
Course fees are an additional cost, often added onto tuition, that students are expected to pay to help maintain the class or pay for materials used in the class.
Vice President of Academic Affairs Tia Robinson said the fees that were higher than needed were established when the course was first offered and never changed. She said some courses cost less than the current fee, and that the updated fee would reflect what the college needs in the present.
“It aligns our student fees with what we need to charge to provide instruction at a low cost to our students,” Robinson said.
The overhaul is expected to reduce the total amount of course fees at the college by roughly $38,000.
In some programs, most noticeably in select courses in the nursing program, the fees were raised. One nursing class with a course fee of $110 was increased to $350. However, in the majority of instances, the course fee was decreased by some margin.
The overhaul study was launched last year, Bauer said. A team was formed to evaluate fees and compare them to the program’s needs cost-wise.
Deans, along with faculty, compared current course and recommended changes to bring fees inline with current practices.
The overhaul is the first step in an ongoing process. From here on out, ECC’s administrative team will present a schedule of course fees during the spring semester to the board, listing changes if there are any that the board will then be asked to adopt.
“Our intent — rather than only bring changes year-to-year — is to bring the whole schedule of course fees in the spring so you can see whether there are changes or not, and adopt that entire schedule for the year going forward,” Bauer said.
The fees changes will officially start at the beginning of the 2018-19 academic year.