Starting in the fall of 2013, Crowder College will no longer charge out-of-state tuition.

Starting in the fall of 2013, Crowder College will no longer charge out-of-state tuition.

The Crowder Board of Trustees voted on final reading Tuesday to waive the out-of-state tuition, cutting the cost of attendance down to three tuition rates: in-district, out-of-district, and international.

Those students living out-of-state would no longer pay the $134 per credit hour for out-of-state tuition, and would instead qualify for the $105 per credit hour out-of-district tuition rate.

The Crowder College district, which consists mostly of Newton and McDonald Counties, is made up of the Neosho R-5, Seneca R-7, East Newton R-6, Diamond R-4 and McDonald County R-1 school districts.

Jim Riggs, Crowder’s director of admissions, told board members the move could open up a host of possibilities for Crowder College, especially at the future McDonald County campus in Jane.

“When we look at the proximity of our major locations, we’re really close to state lines,” Riggs said. “Of course, we’re looking at McDonald County right now, really the major population concentration, as you know, is Northwest Arkansas. So being able to reach in there and be competitive is going to be a big benefit for us.”

He also noted that once the fee change is in place, the college could see an upward climb in online enrollment. He said the out-of-state tuition waiver could increase demand in online courses to the point that the college may eventually need to consider offering additional sections of the course to meet those growing demands.

“There’s great potential for expansion of online programs because it’s going to make us much more competitive tuition-wise when you look nationally,” Riggs said. “They could look at us and say ‘wow, there’s a great deal at this little place called Crowder College.’ We could gain quite a bit through that.”

Several area colleges and universities have implemented programs waiving out-of-state tuition to some degree. At Northwest Arkansas Community College, students from Missouri, who reside in Barry or McDonald County, are charged an in-state, out-of-district fee. The same applies for Oklahoma students living in Adair or Delaware Counties. While the out-of-state tuition is waived for those students, the out-of-district credit hour fee is still a bit higher than Crowder’s at $122.50, compared to $105 per credit hour for Crowder College.

Area four-year universities have also implemented in-state tuition deals for those residing in nearby areas. At Missouri Southern State University in Joplin, the Lion Pride program offers in-state tuition to select counties in Kansas, Illinois, Oklahoma, and Arkansas. Pittsburg State University in Pittsburg, Kan., also offers in-state rates for out-of-state students through the Gorilla Advantage program, open to students in select counties from Missouri, Oklahoma and Arkansas.

Sarah Horine, student services adviser and A+ coordinator at Crowder College, first presented the waiver to the Crowder Board of Trustees in their Oct. 22 meeting.

Horine told board members at that time that the out-of-state tuition waiver could set Crowder apart.
“This puts us in a leadership position among community colleges and universities in allowing us to offer economical access to all students,” Horine said.

The board also heard an update Tuesday from Glenn Coltharp, Crowder’s vice president of academic affairs, regarding the partnership between MSSU and Crowder College, which will allow students to take classes toward a bachelor’s degree in business management at the Crowder College campus in Neosho.

The partnership was announced in October and the program is set to begin when the spring semester kicks off next month.

Coltharp said there are currently 10 students enrolled in the new program, though that number is expected to grow.
“We’re excited about the future,” Coltharp said. “The numbers may be low at the beginning, they always are just to get programs going, but we think there’s a big need.”

Following the regular board meeting, the board also met in closed session to discuss personnel issues.