Tuition at East Central College will cost $5 more per credit hour starting in the fall after the school’s board of trustees approved a tuition increase at its Monday night meeting.

The college projects the boost will generate $363,268 in additional tuition revenue. East Central currently ranks sixth among the most affordable community colleges in Missouri out of 14.

ECC Vice President of Finance and Administration DeAnna Cassat said the increase is in response to state and national data that predicts lower high school enrollment in coming years.

Cassat said gradual tuition increases are preferred over larger, less frequent increases.

ECC President Jon Bauer said tuition and overhead costs for a full-time student in or out of the district will remain lower than the amount given with federal Pell Grants.

The ECC Board also approved a new partnership with the Phelps County Sheriff’s Department to launch a police training center at the college’s Rolla Campus which will open in January 2023.

Christina Ayres, director of the ECC’s Rolla and Sullivan campuses, said the Phelps County Sheriff’s Department and the Rolla Police Department approached her to initiate the recruiting assistance program.

Ayres said most of the departments she spoke to in surrounding counties have similar recruiting and training issues. A program at ECC would meet these needs by providing graduates of the one-year program with the skills and knowledge necessary to meet the requirements of the Missouri Peace Officer Training and Standards (POST) program for a Class A peace officer license.

Ayres said while the ECC will provide classroom facilities, the Phelps County Sheriff’s Department will provide training space and equipment for field exercises, including firearms, a range, vehicles for low-speed driver training and a simulator for high-speed training. ECC and the department will jointly find and train an instructor.

Tuition and regular fees would cover the cost of the program, which would begin in January each year, Ayres said, with classes offered in the evenings and on weekends. The first cohort of students is scheduled for January 2023 and the school expects around 10 students.

Police officer academy graduates will have the opportunity to pursue and also complete an Associate of Applied Science degree, in addition to the one-year certificate, and those under the age of 20 will be encouraged to complete the general education requirements for an associate’s degree before enrolling in the police officer program.

In other business Monday, the board also approved new constituencies for trustees. Two trustees come from three subdistricts in parts of Franklin, Warren, St. Charles, Crawford, Washington and Gasconade counties. Currently, sub-districts divide some school districts, making filing confusing for applicants. Bauer therefore said that in addition to dividing the population evenly, the redistricting committee focused on keeping individual school districts within the same ECC subdistrict.

What the committee landed on and what the board unanimously approved to go into effect in the next voting cycle is to include St. Clair R-XIII, Lonedell R-XIV, Sullivan C-2 and Crawford County RI in the first subdistrict, with Union R-XI, New Haven, Franklin County R-2, Strain-Japan R-XVI, and Spring Bluff R-XV in the second subdistrict, and the Washington School District in the third sub-district.

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