By Stevi Breshears:
The Amarillo College Board of Regents members met for their first regular meeting of the semester on Tuesday, Aug. 29 at 7 p.m. on the Washington Street Campus. The main issues discussed at the meeting were the budget for the 2017-2018 academic year, as well as student enrollment at the college and the Community College Survey of Student Engagement results.
The budget for the current academic year, which passed, focused heavily on investing in faculty and the campuses themselves. This includes raises for all employees – including student workers – and $250,000 devoted to professional development for faculty. More money will also be devoted to summer classes in an effort to increase student retention and completion. To help with the extra costs, the budget also included a $5 increase in tuition and fees.
The tuition increase should be a viable source of income, considering that enrollment is up. According to Vice President of Student Affairs Bob Austin, enrollment is up by about 3% since last year with just over 10,000 students in classes across AC campuses. That number is expected to increase with the second round of eight week classes beginning in October, as well as the expansion of the ACE Amarillo scholarship program.
Even though Amarillo College is serving more students, satisfaction is on the rise. The Community College Survey of Student Engagement surveys students at community colleges from 40 states on things like academic challenges, time management, and student interaction with faculty. According to the most recent results, which will be available in a news release on Wednesday, Amarillo College performance has increased in every single category since the 2014 survey. AC is also among the top 10% of 247 schools surveyed in the “support for leaners” category.
While nothing has been finalized yet, the college is also working on ways to help students at schools affected by Hurricane Harvey continue their education through AC.