At its Jan. 29 meeting in the Vail Valley, the Colorado Mountain College Board of Trustees unanimously voted for a $5 per credit hour increase in all Colorado resident tuition rates for the 2020-21 academic year, keeping the college’s tuition among the most affordable in the state.

This will apply to students qualifying as in-district, in-state or in-service area. The out-of-state tuition rate will increase by $13 per credit hour. The new rates follow no increase in tuition in fiscal year 2019-20 and a 28% reduction in baccalaureate tuition in 2018-19.

Trustees contemplated a range of different options, including setting tuition rates for five years. But they decided to continue discussing future tuition pricing options so as to be responsive to future economic and enrollment trends, which may change over the coming years.

Trustees heard that college administrators would continue to work on efficiencies to bring down costs and to make financial aid available to students with financial need. Inclusive of the new tuition rates and an anticipated state revenue increase of 2.5%, the college projects an overall 1.65% increase in revenues in 2020-21, which is substantially below inflation.

“While college leadership is responsible for keeping costs at or below inflation, it is trustees’ responsibility to ensure we continue to offer programs, services and facilities that meet students’ and community needs,” said Patty Theobald, CMC board president. “In recent years we have seen unprecedented graduation rates by CMC students, especially in the numbers of local graduates. We believe that the 2020-21 tuition rates allow us to strike a balance among our classic affordability, exceptional quality, small classes and personalized learning. ”

Trustees also unanimously approved:

— New course fees of $50-80 for four individual courses in photography and biology.

— An increase of $100 per semester in the program fee for EMT Basic.

— An increase of 3.1% in board and 5% in room fees for 2020-21, to cover inflationary increases in costs and scheduled capital improvements.

— A $1/credit hour increase in Learning Materials Program fee (for leasing textbooks).

During the meeting trustees also unanimously voted to:

— Receive spring 2019 sabbatical reports.

— Approve locations for posting notices of board meetings.

— Accept quarterly financial reports.

— Approve supplemental budget and appropriation of funds from the annexation of the Salida School District R32-J. A total of $1.1 million in new property tax revenues is anticipated, with an expected $848,285 going into a five-year reserve fund to create a solid base for investments in the new campus.

Rachel Pokrandt, vice president and campus dean for Leadville and Chaffee County, gave trustees an update on the college’s presence in Salida School District R32-J. In November voters in Salida, Poncha Springs and throughout the CMC district voted to annex that school district into CMC. Pokrandt said campus and central employees are working together to get Salida staffing in place and plan new academic offerings for the fall.

A storefront in downtown Salida has been leased; a soft opening for the site is scheduled for late February with a public open house set for April 20. Among the programs being planned for the fall, in person or via distance learning, are general education, Friday Career Academies for high school students, early childhood education certificates, hospitality training, and bachelor’s degrees in business and education.

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