The East Central Community College Board of Trustees has approved the college’s 2019-20 budget plan, which includes no increase in tuition or room and board for the upcoming academic year.
ECCC will hold tuition and room and board steady for the 2019-20 academic terms, while one fee will increase and a new fee for proposed career and technical dual credit courses has been added to the budget.
“We are always pleased when we do not have to raise the cost of tuition, but especially this coming year as we have implemented increases the two previous years,” said ECCC President Dr. Billy Stewart. “We were also able to hold room and board rates steady for the second straight year. These recommendations were possible because of the anticipated increase in state funding and because of the effective fiscal planning and budget management by everyone at the college.”
The board-approved budget plan for 2019-20 includes a $40 increase in the student activity fee, from $5 to $45, to support the college’s wellness program, as well as other student activities. The Warrior Wellness initiative was created in 2016 and supported through 2018 by two grants from the Blue Cross & Blue Shield of Mississippi Foundation. The fee increase will help ECCC sustain the program, which provides a campus fitness center with state-of-the-art equipment and fitness classes, a wellness coordinator, expanding intramural options, indoor and outdoor activity areas such as sand volleyball courts and disc and foot golf, and various other health-related student activities and programs that promote a healthier and more active learning environment.
The plan also includes a new $35 per credit hour fee for Career & Technical dual credit courses that ECCC will begin offering to high schools in the five-county district in fall 2019. Dual Credit courses are those taught on the campus of the local high school by a local high school instructor who meets SACSCOC (Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges) faculty credential guidelines utilizing the postsecondary curriculum and student learning outcomes. The $35 per credit hour fee does not include the costs of textbooks, tools, educational supplies, or certification testing. All costs associated with these items will be the responsibility of the student or the high school.
The new budget was developed based on an anticipated $200,000 increase over last year in general education funds the college will receive from the state of Mississippi. Much of this additional revenue will be used to provide incremental salary and benefit increases for each employee classification at ECCC.
In addition to general education funds for recurring costs, East Central is also slated to receive $262,160 in repair and renovation funds and $1.3 million in bond funding to be used for campus construction and maintenance projects. Stewart said the new bond funds would be combined with an existing $2.2 million in bond money to construct a new Band Hall on campus.
“We’ve had bond money set aside for a much-needed Band Hall on campus for several years,” said Stewart. “We are very appreciative to receive the additional $1.3 million in bond money that we believe will now allow us to move forward with this project through the Bureau of Building, Grounds, and Real Property Management. The new facility will be located behind the existing Vickers Fine Arts Center and provide learning and practice areas for our various instrumental bands and vocal groups.”
The 2019-20 budget plan approved at the board’s May 14 meeting on the Decatur campus goes into effect on July 1, 2019. The fall 2019 semester at ECCC begins on Monday, Aug. 12.