By Mackenzie Clark
Panic ensued last month at the unintentional announcement that members of the Brown & Gold Club would no longer receive free tuition, but plans have since changed.
Membership to the Brown & Gold Club is offered exclusively to Johnson County residents ages 55 and up. Benefits include free credit class enrollment and reduced fees for continuing education classes, trips and tours, discounted tickets to the Performing Arts Series and more for a $10 annual fee.
On Feb. 15, however, a letter signed by Dennis Day, vice president, Student Success and Engagement, stated a new policy: “Beginning with the fall 2012 semester, free credit classes will no longer be an option for members of the college’s Brown & Gold Club.” Instead, the letter stated that members would receive a 25 percent discount on cost-per-credit-hour for credit classes to Johnson County residents ages 65 and up.
Day said that this letter was not meant to be released.
“It was never really released to anybody at any time, on purpose or in general,” Day said. “When we would have communicated with the Brown & Gold Club it would’ve been at one time in a mass mailing or some type of communication and that never did happen.”
How exactly the letter got released is still being investigated.
“There were some folks that got a hold of some things, we’re a large campus and some information does get shared, and that just initiated more conversations,” Day said.
Instead of making a sudden change to the policy, Day said that he will be meeting with the advisory board over the next academic year to decide what changes do need to take place. Tax revenues are down and instead of raising tuition for students again, he wants to find another way to cut the budget.
“It was probably a little too soon to make a major change in that program, and we wanted to work with their advisory group to find some options that maybe they could come up with to help out,” he said. “So we’re going to take the next few months and visit with the advisory group of Brown & Gold and help them help us find some options to relieve some of the stress on the budget and not have to continue to increase tuition for students at the rate that we’re doing right now.”
College president Terry Calaway echoed his sentiments.
“The costs of the program are pretty expensive for the institution, and I think we’re at a place where we need to find some options,” he said. “But I think we’ve got, now, the right folks involved in the conversation to help guide us through to a good solution at the back end.”
At this point in time, the final solution is not clear.
“I don’t know what the solutions are going to be, or even what the options might be, but we clearly are spending a good chunk of money for those programs and scholarships for the Brown & Gold members, and it’s a solution that we need to kind of work on,” Calaway said.
Contact Mackenzie Clark, editor-in-chief, at firstname.lastname@example.org.