WC board presented with changes to dual credit funding
Dr. Sarah Lock, Weatherford College’s associate dean of dual credit, eLearning and education, provided the Board of Trustees with an in-depth look at the impact of House Bill 8 on the future of dual credit at their November meeting on Thursday.
Approved during the 88th Texas Legislature, HB 8 redefines how community colleges are funded through state allocations. One part of this funding that could greatly impact WC is the Financial Aid for Swift Transfer (FAST) system for dual credit funding. Colleges may opt in or out of the FAST system.
Currently, high school students taking dual credit courses through WC pay the in-district tuition rate of $117 per credit hour. If WC opts out of FAST, the board of trustees can continue to set that tuition rate.
If the college opts in, the state sets the tuition rate for dual credit students at $55 per semester hour. Students eligible for Free or Reduced Lunch receive free tuition, and the state reimburses the college.
The college is eligible to receive performance funding of $1,700 for each dual credit student once they earn 15 hours under both options.
While opting in would cut WC’s tuition revenue from dual credit students in half, opting out may also cost the college due to students turning to other dual credit sources.
For the 2023–24 academic year, WC expects to net $1.7 million from dual credit students. Using those same figures and adjusting to FAST system standards, that amount drops to $1.6 million if there is no decrease in dual credit students.
“Please understand that these numbers are projections, and there are a lot of contingencies,” Lock said. “This is our optimistic projection if we opt in. If we opt out, understand that they will have more affordable options. So, opting out doesn’t mean that we retain (the current dual credit enrollment figures).”
Lock predicts the college could see dual credit tuition revenue decrease by $500,000 to $875,000 with districts choosing other options.
“When the permanent funding rules come out in January, we’re going to evaluate the impact of this very closely, not only on the college but on all of our highly valued K-12 educational partners,” said WC President Tod Allen Farmer.
In other business, the board:
- Approved the minutes of the October board meeting.
- Approved the financial reports ending Oct. 31.
- Approved the annual review of a local policy on appropriations and revenue sources.
- Approved to move the December board meeting from Dec. 14 to Dec. 7.
- Ratified the purchase of 301 East Park Avenue for use as an alumni house.
- Approved the even distribution of the college’s votes to the presented slate of candidates for the board of directors to the Parker County Appraisal District for 2024-25.
- Approved the determination of prevailing wage on construction projects for the 2023-24 fiscal year as required by the state.
- Approved a change order to the Vickie and Jerry Durant Hall construction contract to include 24 parking spaces at the corner of Martin Drive and College Park Drive near the Kingsley Building.
- Received written reports from the Wise County campus, academic, student services and the annual equities in athletics report.
In his President’s Report, Farmer:
- Congratulated the volleyball team on hosting and winning the NJCAA Region V volleyball tournament last week and wished them luck at the national championship next week in Kansas.
- Announced the college now officially owns Canyon West Golf Course, and new programs including culinary arts and turf management will be added at that location soon.
- Announced that the college, Parker County Attorney John Forrest and a community group are partnering on a Turkey Drive Luncheon to be hosted by WC on Thursday, Dec. 14, with the hopes of providing 300 turkeys to local residents in need.
- Announced the MBA transfer agreement signing ceremony between WC and Texas Wesleyan University has been rescheduled for 1 p.m. Nov. 28, in the Community Room of the Emerging Technologies and Workforce Building.
- Announced the resignations of WC police sergeant Eric Villanueba and associate degree nursing instructor Cindy Turner.