Glen Oaks to expand service area
CENTREVILLE — Glen Oaks Community College’s Board of Trustees voted unanimously during their meeting Thursday to expand the college’s service area to include three surrounding counties starting in the 2020 fall semester.
The service area expansion would bring all residents of Cass County, Calhoun County and Kalamazoo County, who were originally classified for tuition purposes as “in-state” residents, under the “service area” banner. Previously, the “service area” definition covered Cass County residents that attended Three Rivers, White Pigeon or Constantine, as well as residents of Branch County in Michigan and residents of Elkhart County, LaGrange County, Steuben County and St. Joseph County in Indiana.
With the change in definition, residents of Cass, Calhoun and Kalamazoo Counties who enroll at Glen Oaks will see their tuition drop from the “in-state” rate of $187 per contact hour per semester to the “service area” rate of $153 per contact hour per semester.
GOCC President Dr. David Devier said during the meeting that previously he thought there was a service agreement in place for “the counties we touch,” referencing those three counties, but determined it “wasn’t true.” In the last two years, Devier said, GOCC has had 33 students from the three counties the expansion would cover.
“The reason I think this is key now is because now we have dual enrollment in Calhoun and Kalamazoo Counties,” Devier said. “So if we’re enrolling high school students at our in-district tuition, we should try to incentivize them that they want to continue on with us.”
Even though, according to Devier, 415 credit hours were generated in the last two years from students in those three counties, he said he is not worried about the college potentially missing out on tuition money with this move.
“We’re not talking losing a bunch of money here, we’re not talking about making a bunch of money here, but every additional student we attract would be money to the good,” Devier said.
Devier also said he isn’t worried about what he called “jabbing a spike in the eye” of other area community colleges, such as Kellogg Community College or Kalamazoo Valley Community College, saying in-district costs for those colleges are comparable to GOCC’s. Overall, Devier said his main rationale for the move was because of the college having dual enrollment students from those counties.
Trustee Carol Higgins agreed with Devier on his rationale.