Board Approves Tuition Increase & Finalizes Presidential Search Committee

(Bradenton, Fla., Nov. 21, 2007) - The Manatee Community College (MCC) District Board of Trustees at its Nov. 21 meeting approved a 5 percent tuition increase and completed the selection process for a 19-member presidential search committee that will help choose a successor to replace MCC President Dr. Sarah H. Pappas, who will retire June 30, 2008.

The Florida Legislature authorized the 5 percent midyear tuition increase to help offset state budget cuts and fund increased enrollment at community colleges. Gov. Charlie Crist had vetoed the previously awarded 5 percent tuition increase but did not challenge the Legislature when the increase was proposed in the recent special legislative session, noting that tuition at Florida colleges remains among the lowest in the nation.

The cost at MCC for in-state students will rise from $69.69 per hour to $73.82. A student taking 12 hours in a term will pay $49.56 more. Out-of-state students will pay $271.04 per load hour, up from $256.95.

The fee increase will go into effect for Spring 2008 semester, which begins Jan. 7, 2008. Revenue from the fee increase will:        

  • Help keep MCC class sizes small to ensure personal attention to students' needs;         
  • Maintain course offerings consistent with growth;       
  • Fund the hiring of adjunct professors needed to teach additional classes;
  • Fund approved equipment requests; and       
  • Fund additional needs-based financial aid to students.

Peg Beck, director of human resources, reported on an employee benefits survey that drew a 67 percent response from MCC employees. Ninety-seven percent of respondents indicated that benefits are an important part of their compensation packages and 80 percent believe MCC provides competitive benefits. Health insurance and the retirement plan were the benefits paid for by the College that were considered most important by 90 percent of the responders.

Those expressing interest in additional employee-paid benefits cited flexible spending accounts, dependent care assistance, flexible work schedule and domestic partner insurance benefits. Optional flexible spending account and dependent care assistant benefits will be available in 2008, and the board approved adding optional employee-paid domestic partner insurance benefits. The domestic partner insurance benefit program was developed by the Florida Risk Management Consortium and is already in place at 11 Florida community colleges.

Peg Lowery, executive director, The Foundation for MCC, reported a year-end total of $11,840,773 worth of gifts and revenue, the majority of which went for academic and student support. Lowery cited more than $48 million in endowment growth.

The board meeting was held at MCC Venice and Ann Roggero, campus executive officer, provided an update on growth at that 100-acre campus. In five years, Fall term enrollment has grown from 1,841 to 2,544 at MCC Venice. Continuing a population shift first noticed two years ago, a slight majority of students are North Port residents, followed by Venice residents.

The number of students taking upper-level (bachelor's degree) classes offered by the University of South Florida (USF) at MCC Venice has risen from 66 in 2004 to 405 this fall semester.            

The board chose student members and community members to complete the presidential search committee. For a complete list of all committee members, refer to the news release titled "Board Finalizes Search Committee Members" under "News Release Headlines." 

The committee's first organizational meeting will be Jan. 16, 2008. The new president is expected to be selected by April 30, 2008.

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