The Grand Rapids Community College Board of Trustees held a work session followed by a regular meeting on Monday, March 21 to approve a 0.9% tuition increase for the 2022-23 school year.
The tuition increase will be around $1 per credit hour for resident students and will total to approximately $30 more for a full-time student at 15 credit hours a semester for the whole year compared to the 2021-22 school year.
“After much consideration and doing all possible to recognize where some of our students are, looking at pandemic and financial implications continued throughout, we are recommending a $1 increase in tuition from $117 to $118 (per credit hour),” said Vice President for Finance and Administration Lisa Freiburger
The request also states that non-resident students would have a $2 increase from $247 to $249 and out-of-state tuition would increase by $3 per credit hour from $371 to $374.
Tuition for a full-time resident student (15 credit hours a semester) for the 2022-23 year would be around $3,999 and $7,929 for non-resident students.
Prior to the approval of the tuition, the board held a work session to discuss the tuition increase. Freiburger and GRCC President Bill Pink led the discussion answering questions from board members about what this increase will mean and how to get the best outcome for students and the college.
GRCC Board Chairperson David Koetje asked “what could we do tomorrow that we’re not able to do today if we didn’t increase tuition $1, but we raised it $2?”
“We felt like with this budget especially as we feel that we are hopefully on the backside and digging out of this pandemic… if we can do this minimal increase, we are still in a good place to help our students out,” Pink said in response to the question.
Also in the work session, the board invited GRCC’s Chief Equity and Inclusion Officer B. Afeni McNeely Cobham, Dean of Instructional Support, Shelia Jones, and Program Director of the Seccia Institute Werner Absenger to have a conversation about the importance of the Office of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion at GRCC.
“Cultural competence shapes academic competence because professors who have our students in these classrooms have to be able to understand that students are entering at different points in their learning aptitude, in their learning experience, coming from different high schools or home environments where how one can have the motivation or the enthusiasm to learn can be vastly different to the person sitting next to them,” McNeely Cobham said.
“It’s an arduous task, but those who are the academic leaders in the classroom have to then decipher what’s my most engaging and inclusive curriculum where I can meet the needs and enhance the academic skills of the students in front of me. That’s the connection between cultural competence and academic competence,” she continued.
GRCC Trustee Brandy Lovelady Mitchell then raised the question on how can the board help ODEI. McNeely Cobham asked the board to ask questions to people on the executive leadership team and GRCC’s cabinet including in what ways is equity embedded in their work? and how do they interface with her office?
“My job description talks eloquently about how I am supposed to collaborate in the role of Chief Equity and Inclusion Officer, but collaboration is (not) mutually exclusive, it’s reciprocal… so it can’t be all on me to do the collaborating and the outreach, it has to be on the part of the other people, and I don’t experience that other piece coming a lot of the time,” McNeely Cobham said. “… I am on a different side of this work because not only am I burnt out, but I’m at peace, so can’t nobody tell me what I can say when I can say it. I’m talking to you from truth.”
Following the work session, the regular meeting began with Associate Professor and Academic Advisor Lynnae Selberg introducing three students who were representing GRCC in the 2022 All Michigan Academic Team.
Next to the podium was GRCC Police Chief Rebecca Whitman to ask for approval for new members of the public safety advisory committee, including Nikki Banks, Hillery Haney, David Selmon, and Grant Snider in which the board approved.
The board then approved the estimate of property tax and state revenue which was presented by Freiburger.
Then Associate Professor of Accounting Jennifer Nott and Interim Dean of Arts and Science Bill Faber gave a completion and transfer monitoring report and gave an update on Goal Two: Completion and Transfer. The goal statement states that “the college sustains and continuously improves our focus on successful student goal achievement whether that be completion of a degree/ credential, transfer to another college, or personal interest/skill attainment.”
Faber then laid out three College Action Plans (CAP) including CAP 2.1: Implement the Academic Pathways Model at GRCC, CAP 2.2: Establish and implement a new model for academic advising, and CAP 2.3: Improve the student transfer experience.
Vice President of College Advancement and Executive Director of the GRCC Foundation Kathy Mullens gave a foundation update to the board. The GRCC Foundation has offered $1.27 million dollars in scholarships for 1,342 students with 327 new students receiving scholarships for the first time at GRCC this school year.
Mullens also announced that the foundation board has recently established the GRCC Foundation Board of Directors Excellence scholarship which will be a full-ride scholarship to GRCC awarded to one high school student in the Kent County area and another in the Ottawa County area.
To wrap up the update, Mullens discussed how the foundation board will be bringing back two in-person events back including the Creating Connections Breakfast on April 22 and Scholar Fest which is planned for sometime during the 2022 fall semester.
During the open comment section of the meeting, GRCC student Elizabeth Agee addressed her concerns to the board about providing more support for epileptic students.
Agee asked the board for three requests including a review of the policy for when officers are called to a seizure incident, to make sure officers understand people are confused when coming out of seizures, and have police officers take seizure certification training.
The next regular meeting for the Board of Trustees will be on May 16 at 4:15 p.m.
To watch the full board of trustees meeting, visit here.