The Kilgore College Board of Trustees has unanimously approved to reduce dual credit tuition and fees approximately 45 percent for high school students effective fall 2008.
The tuition and fee rate for in-district early admission/dual credit students will be $25 per semester hour and $50 per semester hour for students out-of-district, excluding books and laboratory fees.
Dual credit students currently pay regular tuition and fees, $43 per credit hour for in-district and $90 per credit hour for out-of-district. Schools that are currently in Kilgore College's district are Gladewater, Kilgore, Leveretts Chapel, Overton, Sabine, West Rusk and White Oak.
"We are keenly aware that many students are financially challenged more now than ever," said President Dr. Bill Holda. "We feel these reductions in tuition will encourage and give more opportunities to students who wish to enter college, but may struggle financially."
Holda said he is excited about the possibility of more students getting the opportunity to earn college credit while still in high school and said that students who take dual credit courses are more likely to continue their collegiate careers after high school graduation.
The program offers current high school students the opportunity to enroll in any class offered by Kilgore College for college credit as well as high school credit. Terry Booker, dean of Liberal and Fine Arts, said that students typically take three to six hours a semester, though some students have taken as many as nine hours at a time if they've demonstrated outstanding academic performance and capability and are approved by the chief academic officer of the college. Booker, who also oversees the dual credit program, said that he frequently meets with local high school counselors to promote the program.
"My key role is to know all of the options out there," Booker said. "We do everything in our power to meet high school students' needs."
Last fall, 476 students participated in the dual credit program and Booker said he expects a big increase this fall due to the reduced tuition rate and the Texas Education Agency's new requirement for Texas high schools to offer access to a maximum of 12 hours of dual credit college coursework this fall.
More than half of Texas community colleges have taken advantage of statutes that allow colleges to offer free or discounted tuition and fees to early admission/dual credit students. The board of trustees, along with President Bill Holda, studied various models for more than a year and said they believe students should have some expense related to their education while at the same time receive reduced costs to create greater access to the college.
Some school districts even offer to pay for all or part of students' tuition as an incentive to get students enrolled in dual credit programs.
"This is a local decision that each district will have to make," Booker said. "But the districts will receive the same discounted rates as the individual students do."
Holda said that the reduction in dual credit tuition is a good faith effort by the board of trustees to create greater access for students with financial needs.
"We feel that it is important for students to have an investment in their coursework," Holda said. "The reduction in dual credit tuition will help those students who are truly in financial need and give more students the opportunity to take college coursework at a great value."
All dual credit students are required to apply and be accepted to the college like any other student college student, including home-schooled students. All applications are distributed through their high school counselors.
The board also voted to increase regular tuition next fall by $1 per semester hour and increase the out-of-district fee by $2 per semester hour. This will make a three hour course for in-district students cost $132 and $279 for out-of district students.
The increase is part of a five-year plan to fund modest cost of living increases for faculty and is expected to generate about $225,000 for the college.
Story posted by Cathryn Khalil, kltv.com.