No tuition or fee increases for fall 2021, face-to-face classes will resume

No tuition or fee increases for fall 2021, face-to-face classes will resume

Fri Mar 12, 2021 at 01:48 PM

The cost of attending Northark will remain the same for the fall 2021 semester.  You may think the freeze is prompted by the hardships caused by the recent pandemic, but it has been part of Northark’s mission to keep tuition low since the College was founded, according to Randy Esters, Northark’s president. 

“We didn’t raise tuition last year either,” Esters noted.  “We’ve distributed CARES Act money and that has helped our students in the short-term. Holding tuition steady for the coming year will further support them and is on-brand for maintaining Northark’s affordability while providing greater access to education. We are receiving data showing a 17% decrease statewide for high school students who have completed FAFSA applications over the same time last year*.  That shows us the high school seniors, Class of 2020, has not yet made their decision to attend college. They are waiting to see what happens next. Last year, all two-year colleges statewide saw an average 13.9% decrease while we were down only 3.8%. Only one college performed better. The community and students stood by us and for that we’re thankful.” 

Esters said the College is promoting its accessibility, affordability and in-person classes with a goal of garnering a 10% enrollment increase for fall. He mentioned several new program rankings, noting that the College had not compromised quality during the last year. 

The tuition decision will cause administrators to be creative when developing the 2021-22 budget set for consideration at the April meeting.  Richard Stipe, vice president of finance and administration told Trustees that revenues for the month of February were $687,378 bringing operating fund revenues to $11,011,181, representing 80% of the budgeted revenue for the year. Expenditures were slightly higher than previous years at $1.1M with a year-to-date total of $9.9M or 72% of the year’s budget. February Auxiliary revenue was $9,166 with the year-to-date revenue at $1,096,000 or 83% of budget for the year.  Expenditures for February were $21,704 for a year-to-date of $1,024,000. Regarding next year’s budget forecast Stipe said, “There are a lot of uncertainties, because typically you build upon the current year and we couldn’t have more of an anomaly than this year by comparison.”

A pivot back to in-person instruction in August will bring Northark instructors back into classrooms.  President Esters said Northark is “on track” to conduct in-person classes and will offer most classes face-to-face and online.  Some classes have already returned to face-to-face instruction and others will after Spring Break on March 29, 2021.  After this date, faculty will have office hours on campus and employees will return to normal operations.  “We will continue to wear masks as long as the CDC recommends it and will socially distance,” Esters said.

Students can choose to attend classes online, remotely, on-campus or have a mixture of different delivery methods.  Northark is adding more Zoom rooms so classes can be routinely delivered into student’s homes as well as on campus.

In other news, the community vaccine clinics being held on campus have administered over 3,000 vaccines.  “It’s been very positive for the College,” Trustee Debbie Johnson said.  “I’ve heard a lot of people say that it is run very well.”

Sarah Bing, director of Title III, community and concurrent education gave a monitoring report about high school course completion noting that 95% of the concurrent high school students in 2019-20 had completed gateway courses, far exceeding the targeted goal of 70%. Course success rates during the academic year showed success rates of 90%.  Fifty-five percent of Northark Technical Center students had completed credentials during the 2019-20 academic year. Bing said concurrent enrollment for the current academic year increased 94 students or 37% (excluding the Northark Technical Center) boosting a jump in credit hour enrollment to 1,039 or 59%.  “We just received some good news from ADHE only an hour ago,” she continued. “Only 5 two-year colleges saw increased high school enrollment. NAC was the second highest with a 17.3% increase.  That’s exceptionally good when the average two-year college enrollment dropped by 11% statewide.”

*As of February 12, 2021

North Arkansas College is committed to providing an educational and work environment for its students, faculty, and staff that is free from sexual discrimination including sexual harassment, sexual assault, and sexual violence. No form of sexual discrimination will be tolerated. See the full North Arkansas College Title IX Policy and Procedures for the specific definitions of sexual harassment and sexual violence, including examples of such conduct.