The addition of a new Gila Community College (GCC) board member in Globe tipped the scales against Larry Stephenson’s stubborn fight to not boost tuition rates for the 2014-15 school year.
“I would like to pass the tuition schedule for 2014-15 that is in our board book,” said newest member Jerry McCreary as all five board members sat at a table in Globe. McCreary was appointed to replace Bob Ashford, from Globe, who died.
All three Globe board members voted to support the tuition increase, while Stephenson voted against it and newest Payson board member John Zilisch recused himself from the vote.
Senior Dean Stephen Cullen has pushed for the last three months for GCC to adopt the same tuition schedule as Eastern Arizona College (EAC). The Safford Community College District administers GCC, which is a provisional community college.
During that time, Stephenson has vehemently opposed increasing the tuition for fear it would reduce enrollment and require staff to get more money out of students already signed up for fall classes.
The last time GCC increased tuition; enrollment plunged, especially with the seniors who previously paid no tuition. The new schedule would retain the waivers for seniors.
Cullen said simply adopting EAC’s rate would actually make less work for staff.
Another tuition schedule
Stephenson also suggested adopting a more simple rate that didn’t give a big price break to students taking less than six units at the expense of the full-time students. He wanted to make those changes in the 2015-16 school year.
McCreary moved to table that discussion until a future meeting.
“I would like to point out the fact that we have a proposed tuition schedule for next year, the proposed schedule we have from Dr. Stephenson is actually for our 2015-16 year,” said McCreary. “I would like to make a motion ... that we bring this back.”
Both Zilisch and McCreary agreed Stephenson had a good point.
“It seems to be one of the goals is to encourage full-time students,” said Zilisch. “If that is true, we would really need to have an incentive built in to encourage full-time students.”
Because of the static cost of tuition up to six credits, part-time students pay significantly less than full-time students.
McCreary wondered how that policy evolved.
Cullen tried to answer his question.
“It’s an argument we go through a lot,” Cullen said. “I understand that it is confusing to understand why we have that, but the philosophy is designed to allow students to try and prove they can succeed at taking that course ... I look at it personally as a recruiting tool.”
The board decided to return to Stephenson’s tuition suggestion at a later date.