Community college board freezes tuition, elects chair, approves $2,000 bonuses

VERSAILLES, Ky. (WTVQ) – The Kentucky Community and Technical College System (KCTCS) Board of Regents voted today to freeze tuition for 2021-22 academic year at the current rate of $179 per credit hour. Several factors went into the decision, including the financial hardships many families suffered due to COVID 19.

“The pandemic has taken a toll on our students who’ve been affected in numerous ways, including job loss,” KCTCS Board Chair Gail Henson said. “The board wanted to help students, and we felt keeping our tuition at the same rate would help thousands of families.”

KCTCS is the largest provider of higher education in the Commonwealth and has the lowest cost. Out-of-state students from counties contiguous to Kentucky will continue to pay $358 per credit hour. All other out-of-state students will pay $627 per credit hour.

“Kentucky is recovering fast from the pandemic, but we can’t forget the lessons learned from the past year,” Aaron Thompson, president of the Kentucky Council on Postsecondary Education, said. “Even with our rally, many students still face extreme financial hardships that could derail their education. That’s why I want to thank KCTCS for holding the line on tuition. Their leadership and commitment to affordability helps ensure that we don’t leave anyone behind.”

The board also voted to give faculty and staff a merit bonus of $2,000 or 2%, whichever is greater, for each regular, full-time employee who earns at least the “Fully Met Job Requirements (M)” rating in the 2020-21 KCTCS performance evaluation process. Employees have not had a recurring raise since 2017-18.

“We really wanted to give a raise to our hardworking employees who stepped up last year to meet their students’ needs during what was one of the most difficult times in history,” Henson said. “We know they are deserving of a pay increase. Unfortunately, in a pandemic year, there were too many financial uncertainties to make it happen, but we will continue to look at how we can reward our hard-working employees.”

Henson’s board appointment and term as chair end June 30. The board elected a new slate of officers that will serve a one-year term beginning July 1. They are:

Chair – Lisa V. Desmarais – Covington, Kentucky

Vice Chair – James L. Stevens – Madisonville, Kentucky

Secretary – Wendy J. Fletcher – Morehead, Kentucky

Desmarais was elected 6-5 over Stevens, who then was elected vice chair by acclimation.

In other business, the board:

  • Approved a budget of $1,066,642,600 for the 2021-22 fiscal year.
  • Approved an Associate in Applied Science (AAS) in Cybersecurity for Big Sandy Community and Technical College and Bluegrass Community and Technical College.
  • Ratified 29 certificate and eight diploma programs.
  • Approved 14,800 academic credential requests between January 9, 2021 – April 9, 2021 (associate degrees, diplomas, and certificates).  These credentials include:
    •  9,713 for certificates;
    • 829 candidates for diplomas; and
    • 4,258 candidates for associate degrees.

The next meeting of the KCTCS Board of Regents is scheduled for September 17 at the KCTCS System Office in Versailles.

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