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Board Approves Housing, Meal Plan Rates

Pennsylvania College of Technology’s Board of Directors on Thursday approved housing and meal plan rates for 2012-13, as well as a revision to an investment policy and the granting of emeritus status to a retired faculty member.

In a meeting conducted via conference call, the board approved rates that will rise by a combined 2.35 percent for the most common housing configuration (two-bedroom, four-person apartment) and meal plan option (14-meal board plan) for students. That amounts to a total increase of $105 (to $4,578) per semester.

The maximum increase for any room type/configuration will be 2.28 percent. The Dining Services increase will be 2.5 percent for all board plans.

Thursday's Board of Directors' meeting summarized for college communityBoard Chairman Robert E. Dunham praised the administration for keeping the increases low, noting they compare quite favorably with those established at other colleges and universities.

Elliott Strickland Jr., chief student affairs officer, noted the ongoing demand for on-campus student housing. He said the number of students already expressing a desire to remain in on-campus housing next year is about 100 ahead of this time last year.

In other business, the board approved a change to the college’s investment policy. The college does not utilize the long-term investment account to meet cash needs, so a minimum allocation requirement was removed. The revision also includes clarification of some terms within the policy, and it updates staff positions involved with approvals and review.

The board approved a recommendation of faculty emeritus status for James Fox, a retired welding faculty member. Fox began his Penn College employment in 1975; he retired in 2009. He received the college’s Excellence in Teaching Award in 1993, and he has received various American Welding Society awards. He organized the Penn College student chapter of AWS in the 1970s and served as its adviser into the ’90s.

Fox served as department head for welding for four years and as chair of advisory committees at the college. He took the lead in establishing the Welding Department as an AWS-accredited testing facility to serve the local and regional welding industry.

In her comments to the board, Penn College President Davie Jane Gilmour said new-student enrollment is projected to increase 1.35 percent in Fall 2012. Applications are up 128 from this time last year, she added.

Gilmour said 10 accepted-student receptions are planned in various locations in Pennsylvania and nearby states. The receptions will feature participation from staff in the Admissions, Financial Aid and Residence Life offices.

The president also told the board that eliminated or unfilled positions in the college budget have resulted in combined savings (salaries and benefits) of about $1.9 million this year. The number of full-time employees at the college now stands at 994.

Gilmour also said the administration is exploring possible refinancing of a college bond series for additional cost savings if interest rates remain favorable.

Noting the recent appointment of Gilmour to Gov. Corbett’s Higher Education Advisory Panel, Dunham said it recognizes her contributions to higher education. He said the appointment and the governor’s decision to level-fund Penn College’s state appropriation in the proposed 2012-13 state budget reflect the college’s impact and is “a real tribute to the institution.”

The next Board of Directors meeting is scheduled for April 26.

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