Despite a minimal tuition increase by the N.C. General Assembly, Richmond Community College in Hamlet remains an affordable avenue for attaining a college degree, according to college officials.
The RCC Board of Trustees approved the tuition rates, which are now $69 per semester credit hour, at its regular meeting this week. Since a majority of students take 12 hours each semester, that brings the average tuition to $828 per semester. Tuition is capped at $1,104 for 16 or more hours.
Vice President of Administrative Services and CFO Brent Barbee presented the new fee schedule to the board, which was approved. The technology fee increases to $15 and supports the infrastructure of the college network, which is expanding its wireless services this year. Other costs for the Nursing Pre-Admissions Test and WorkKeys tests increase to reflect the cost charged by vendors providing those tests. This brings standard fees to $34.25 per semester. Barbee noted RCC’s fees are considerably lower than community colleges and universities in the surrounding area.
RCC President Dale McInnis complimented the college’s nursing staff for their passage rates for the past three years. A newly released report showed the three-year average national passage rate for graduates taking exams to become register nurses is 88 percent; the state average is 84 percent; and RCC’s average is 94 percent. The three-year average national passage rate for practical nurses is 86 percent; the state average is 82 percent; and RCC’s average is 93 percent. Rates are based upon first-time testing, and graduates may retake the test.
The Medical Assisting program received reaccreditation from the Medical Assisting Education Review Board. Graduates of the program are qualified to take a national exam to become Certified Medical Assistants, which is a credential recognized throughout the United States.
McInnis congratulated Barbee and the Facilities Services staff for their hard work in implementing energy saving equipment and procedures. An evaluation by the N.C. State University Industrial Extension Service indicates RCC is in the top three community colleges in its region and in the top 10 of the 58 community colleges in the state in energy efficiency and operational procedures.
The College and Career Readiness Program remains a model in the state for its operations and its monitoring of the program. McInnis praised CCR Director Sherry Byrd and her staff for meeting all criteria required by the state and for the glowing review they received from state auditors.
The board approved another five-year memorandum of agreement with the Richmond County Board of Education to continue the Richmond Early College High School. The first cohort graduated in May with both high school diplomas and associate degrees.
Scotland County Economic Developer Greg Icard updated the board on the Small Business Innovation Center, which recently broke ground in Laurinburg and will be completed in late November. A unique partnership between Scotland County, the City of Laurinburg, and the college puts the directors of RCC’s Small Business Center, Customized Training Center, and Career Readiness Certificate Program at the center along with Icard. An RCC receptionist will serve all parties and assist entrepreneurs using the site to get new businesses off the ground. RCC’s directors will continue to serve clients in both counties, but will be centrally located and have a dedicated contact to assist in coordinating their activities.
RCC Psychology Professor Pam Case updated the board on the development of the Quality Enhancement Plan, a component of the reaccreditation process for the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools. The goal of the plan is to improve students’ ability to express their thoughts and ideas in writing and orally using Standard English and appropriate vocabulary.
She said someone saying, “I seen him; he done it,” might be understood, but the person will not be perceived as educated. The next steps in the process involve how to incorporate this concept into every course and then how to evaluate success.
As part of the SACS reaccreditation process, all policies of the college have been reviewed for accuracy and relevancy. The board approved several policy changes to reflect current practices.
The board also approved a three-year contract for McInnis and approved Emeritus Status for several retired faculty and staff who served a minimum of 20 years at the college. They are Phyllis Caviness, Pam McKay, James Medlin, Chris Sturdivant, and Wanda Watts.