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The Gila Community College District Governing Board discussed a proposed a 7 percent increase to $80 per credit hour. For dual-enrollment classes, the board is considering an increase, but has not determined what that will be. The college currently charges $75 per credit hour up to 12 hours for regular enrollment, and $55 per credit hour for dual-enrollment classes, which are classes generally attended by high school students.

The report on the proposal to boost tuition noted that even at $80 a credit hour, GCC would be charging $10 a credit hour less than Eastern Arizona College.

The board listened to the proposal, but will not vote on it until the next scheduled meeting.

Community college tuition has increased both nationally and in Arizona in the past decade, including at GCC.

From 2015 to 2016, there was a 4 percent increase in tuition and from 2016 to 2017, tuition went up 15.4 percent.

Other topics discussed at the recent GCC board meeting include:

Freedom of Expression Committee

Gov. Doug Ducey signed House Bill 2563 into law on April 25 this year. The bill directed Arizona’s state universities and community colleges to create free-expression policies that “ensure the fullest degree of intellectual freedom.”

The law instructs the Arizona Board of Regents and community college districts to adopt a policy to recognize the importance of free speech and provide protections from “Individual conduct that materially and substantially infringes on the rights of other persons to engage in or listen to expressive activity.”

The law requires colleges to set up a free speech committee and report any free speech infringement. It also calls for consequences to those who obstruct freedom of speech on campus.

Member Sam Morehead will chair the committee and ensure GCC is in compliance.

Morehead said there will be a seven-member committee, one chair, three people from Payson and three from Globe. The three committee members will include a representative from administration, faculty and the student body at each campus.

A letter must be sent from each campus addressed to the speaker of the house, president of the senate and secretary of state’s office by Dec. 1. The letter is to include contact information, confirmation that a committee has been organized and policy is being developed. The new policy is to be adopted in January 2019.

Update on nursing building

There are a few items to complete on the nursing building, including the sidewalk and steps to the building and interior lighting. The shed currently at Banner Payson Medical Center needs to be disassembled and reassembled on campus for storage.

Aspire Arizona Foundation

Dean Pam Butterfield announced that she had met with Tom Slonaker of the Aspire Arizona Foundation, which will now pay for up to three dual-credit courses per student at the high school instead of just one. This increase will take effect for academic year 2018-2019, and will save some parents up to $600.

Over 55 tuition waiver

GCC took a survey of the 55-year-old and older population to ascertain their areas of interest. The survey revealed that the biggest draws are the wellness center and personal enrichment courses including exercise classes and the arts.

Beeline Bus

GCC has purchased two years of advertising on the back of the bus going to Star Valley and back to Payson along Highway 260. The Beeline Bus kickoff is slated for Friday, Nov. 30, outside of Stage.

The board meets monthly and has both a work session and public meeting. The next public meeting will be held at 10 a.m., Thursday, Dec. 6 at the GCC Payson campus.

Digital Media Mgr/Staff Reporter/Photographer

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