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No tuition, fee increases for fall, changes set for after spring break

Staff Report


The cost of attending North Arkansas College will remain the same for the fall 2021 semester.
College president Dr. Randy Esters said the move is part of Northark’s mission to keep tuition low since the college was founded.
“We didn’t raise tuition last year either,” Esters said. “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.”
Esters said the most recent data showed a 17% decrease statewide for high school students who have completed Free Application for Student Aid applications over the same time last year.
“That shows us the high school seniors, Class of 2020, have not yet made their decision to attend college,” Esters said. “They are waiting to see what happens next.”
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. That brought operating fund revenues to $11,011,181, representing 80% of the budgeted revenue for the year. Expenditures were slightly higher than previous years at $1.1 million 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,” Stipe said.
Esters told the Northark Board of Trustees at a meeting Thursday afternoon that the Task Force for a Healthy Campus recommended changes that could be made with the easing of the COVID-19 pandemic, yet still comply with CDC guidelines. Changes would apply after spring break.
He said temperature checkers at each entrance won’t be needed at this time.
“In the year that we’ve been checking temperatures we haven’t found one person who was running a temperature,” he said. “But it helped send the message that we were serious about … the outbreak.”
Some classes have already returned to in-person learning and others could follow suit. Classes will still be offered via Zoom for students who have come to rely on it.
All employees will return to campus with some exceptions made on a case-by-case basis after spring break.
“But the rule is, everybody’s coming back to work,” Esters said.
The requirement for face masks and physical distancing will not change. Northark will continue to follow CDC guidelines, but Esters reminded trustees that those guidelines can change swiftly depending on such things as vaccinations.


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