Update – April 3, 2014

on April 3, 2014 in Weekly Update

Good Morning –

April is here and that means spring fever! I hope you are finding a few minutes each day to enjoy the weather.

In this update I want to highlight three items from the Board of Trustees Meeting held this past Monday, March 31, 2014.

1.      Increase in the semester credit hour tuition rates were approved. Beginning fall 2014:

  • In-district tuition rate will be $47
  • Out-of-district tuition rate will be $89
  • Non-resident tuition rate will be $142

The last tuition increase was in fall 2012. The Board members discussed the increase over two workshops. They were concerned about the financial impact on students and spent considerable time discussing how to maintain an affordable education while continuing our commitment to high quality and excellence. With these increases, San Jacinto College is still at the lower to mid-range of tuition and fees charged by the other colleges in the Gulf Coast region. Additionally, the Board approved an increase in the exemption for dual credit and early college high school students; the exemption will be 70% effective fall 2014 versus the current exemption of 55%. This decision was made due to the College’s commitment to partner with our independent school districts to instill a college-going culture and mindset early in the education process and to expand the dual credit and early college high school enrollments.

2.       The Board of Trustees approved fees for internal and external challenge exams related to credit for prior learning (CPL). CPL allows students who have mastered academic or technical competencies to demonstrate their knowledge for credit in a wide variety of discipline areas and through several internal and external methodologies. The advantages of CPL are:

  • Students have an opportunity to lower educational costs,
  • It shortens the time to certificate and degree completion,
  • It eliminates redundant coursework on learning outcomes that have already been achieved by a student.

The Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board (THECB) and the Texas Workforce Commission (TWC) asked San Jacinto College, as well as all community colleges within Texas, to reconsider processes around CPL, in order to recognize field experience and eliminate redundancy in coursework. This initiative began with an emphasis on veterans and the credit awarded to those with military service, especially in the health sciences areas. Our review expanded and we included all instructional areas. A college work group examined the processes and costs at colleges within the Gulf Coast region and at colleges of similar size within the state. The goals were to expand opportunities for credit awards for prior learning, to bring San Jacinto into alignment with its sister colleges, and to ensure that all campuses were offering the same opportunities. If you are interested in learning more about CPL options, contact Catherine O’Brien.

3.       Last week and over the weekend, three Board members, Dr. Williamson, and I attended the Board of Trustees Institute (BOTI). This is the annual trustee meeting that the Achieving the Dream colleges in Texas attend to review work on the Student Success Agenda. At the close of the conference, each institution reports on actions that will be focused on during the next year. At the Board meeting, the three Board members discussed the work that occurred during the Institute and steps that they see for the next year. Steps include:

  • The Board recommitting to the Student Success work,
  • Creating a clear and purposeful student centered focus,
  • Limiting the number of annual priorities,
  • Engaging faculty and staff more broadly in the Student Success Agenda, and
  • Expanding the College’s commitment to advising and educational planning.

It is clear from their comments that they are committed to San Jacinto College, the success of our students, and the important work that each employee contributes to that success.

If you are interested in learning more about what happens during the Board meetings and workshops and the Board’s committee meetings, you can watch them live or in an archive format. Watching the meetings allows you to stay more engaged with the College’s governance system and to understand the type of issues that the Board has responsibility over.

In closing, I encourage each of you to connect with a student. John Lennon was quoted as saying, “A dream you dream alone is only a dream.  A dream you dream together is reality.”  Our students come to San Jacinto College with a dream for their lives. As we all connect with our students, their dreams start becoming their reality. I encourage each of us to take that step.



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