In an acknowledgement that almost all OTC courses have an online element, the Ozarks Technical Community College Board of Trustees voted to eliminate online course fees beginning June 1, 2020. Currently, online students are charged a $65 fee for each course they attend. The board made the decision at its monthly meeting on Monday.
To make up for the revenue that supports the infrastructure required to offer online education, the board voted to raise the student technology fee that all students pay to $19 per credit hour – an $11 increase.
“The college has considered dropping online course fees for several years because almost every class taught at OTC has some online component,” said OTC Chancellor Hal Higdon. “When COVID-19 forced us to move all classes online, it seemed like the right thing to do for our students. Just about every student uses the online infrastructure, so it’s only fair that all students share in the cost of maintaining and improving it.”
In the spring of 2020, before COVID-19 forced all courses online, OTC had 4,776 online students and 2,098 of those students were exclusively online. Students who began the spring 2020 semester in an in-person course and later moved online due to COVID-19 were not charged an online course fee.
At Monday’s board meeting, the trustees also voted to raise in-district tuition for the first time since the 2018-2019 school year. In-district, Tier I tuition for the 2020-2021 school year will increase by $4 per credit hour. Tiers II and III will increase by $3 per credit hour.
“We had not planned to raise tuition at all this year,” Higdon said. “But, with the state already announcing cuts to higher education and a lot of uncertainty surrounding future funding, we had no choice.”
Generally, Tier I classes are general education, Tier II classes are technical education and Tier III are medical courses. The different tuition rates for each tier reflect the increased cost of instruction for courses that require specialized equipment and accreditation.
Tuition rates effective June 1, 2020:
Tier I Tier II Tier III
In-District tuition, per credit hour $117.00 $120.00 $130.00
Out-of-District tuition, per credit hour $164.00 $169.00 $179.00
Out-of-State tuition, per credit hour $210.00 $214.00 $226.00
In-district students are those who live inside the OTC taxing district. Property owners in the taxing district pay taxes that support OTC, and residents of those school districts receive a reduced tuition rate. Out-of-district and out-of-state tuition were increased in 2019, but remain unchanged for the 2020-2021 school year.