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College Budget, Bond Refunding, CAC Board Approved

Pennsylvania College of Technology’s Board of Directors on Thursday approved a 2016-17 budget that includes the smallest increase in tuition and fees since the college began its affiliation with Penn State in 1989.

Tuition will rise by 2.03 percent in the $109.38 million operating budget. If tuition and fees are combined, the increase is lower – 1.71 percent for Pennsylvania residents, who account for 89 percent of the college’s enrollment, and 1.87 percent for out-of-state students.

The operating budget reflects an increase of less than 1 percent (.24 percent) over 2015-16. The $150,414,900 total budget represents a 2.45-percent decrease in spending.

Increases for room and board in the 2016-17 budget are also the lowest ever. Dining Services has established increases of 1.5 percent for meal plans. Residence Life is budgeting an increase of 1 percent for on-campus housing costs.

A slight decrease in credit hours is budgeted for in the 2016-17 plan.

“We took a very conservative approach,” said Suzanne T. Stopper, vice president for finance/CFO.

Board of Directors' meeting detailed for campus community
Board of Directors’ meeting detailed for campus community

In other business, the board authorized the administration to proceed with advanced refunding of the college’s 2008 bond series, which supported the Stage X Building Program.

Stopper told the board interest rates are favorable, and refunding could generate an estimated $10 million in overall savings for the college. She cautioned the estimate is based on multiple factors, including the condition of the market when the bonds are sold. The refunding includes no new money.

The Stage X Building Program featured construction of Dauphin Hall and the Construction Masonry Building. Also included was renovation/expansion at the Parkes Automotive Technology Center, the Avco-Lycoming Metal Trades Center and the Hager Lifelong Education Center.

The board also approved an audit engagement letter with Baker Tilly, of Williamsport, and approved gifts to the City of Williamsport ($100,000) and the Williamsport Area School District ($35,000).

The Community Arts Center Board of Directors slate for 2016-17 was approved by the board. Members will be Penn College President Davie Jane Gilmour, William J. Martin, Stopper, Veronica M. Muzic and Paul L. Starkey, vice president for academic affairs/provost. Alternates are Robert G. Bowers and Carolyn R. Strickland, vice president for enrollment management/associate provost.

Updates on the college’s branding campaign and recruiting were presented by Strickland and Joseph S. Yoder, associate vice president for public relations and marketing.

Yoder presented on news-media reach, paid advertising, the college’s Branding Campaign, and social media activity and advertising.

Strickland addressed the redesign of the college’s website and the introduction of the “Penn College 101” interactive feature, as well as updates to the college viewbook and related recruitment and printed materials. She also discussed efforts to enhance the electronic communications plan for prospective students.

In addition, Strickland spoke of plans to change the format for tour presentations and the deans’ Open House presentations, as well as impending updates for Admissions letters and the college’s Strategic Social Media Plan.

In her comments to the board, Gilmour said 90 percent of continuing students are scheduled for Fall 2016.

She also referenced the continued growth of welding program enrollment for 2016, the successful Antique Automobile Club of America Grand National Meet held on campus, the college’s various summer camp offerings, Senior Visit Days, and the Penn College Foundation’s successful Spring Golf Classic with visiting pro Ryan Palmer.

Board Chairman Sen. Gene Yaw spoke of the grand scope of the AACA Grand National Meet, saying he has heard nothing but positive comments from AACA members and others about the venue for the event held here June 2-4.

“This is the biggest one they’ve ever had,” Yaw said, marveling at how efficiently 650 vehicles were maneuvered into their designated spaces around campus.

The next scheduled meeting of the Penn College Board of Directors is Aug. 4.

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