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Bill on remedial classes would be a 'huge chunk' for CWC

Jan 27, 2013 - By Katie Roenigk, Staff Writer

A bill that would make required remedial classes free for Wyoming students could cost the state's community colleges more than $1.7 million per year.

"That would pretty much fall to the community colleges to do those remedial classes," Central Wyoming College Trustee Heather Christensen said this week. "The University of Wyoming (has) a few developmental classes, but not much."

House Bill 165 states that any high school graduate in Wyoming who is required by the university or by a community college to undertake a remedial class that isn't credited toward a degree or certificate shall receive such study free of tuition and fees.

If HB165 becomes law, it is anticipated to take $1.7 million away from community college tuition revenue for fiscal year 2014. The estimated cost for fiscal year 2015 is set at $1.8 million, growing to $1.9 million by fiscal year 2016.

"It's a huge chunk," CWC President Jo Anne McFarland said. "It's close to one-third of our tuition revenue.

"And it would be very onerous for the colleges to accept that kind of dip in revenues at a time when we're already facing substantial budget cuts."

By contrast, lawmakers estimate the bill would remove about $66,000 from the UW's tuition revenue for fiscal year 2014, $69,300 for fiscal year 2015 and $73,000 for fiscal year 2016.

"Clearly the community colleges are doing the bulk of that," McFarland said, adding that the state has not yet identified an appropriation to help cover the extra costs. "We'll have to see how that works."

Christensen believes lawmakers hope for some funding to support HB165, though during a recent conference call with other state trustees she said no one indicated that a source for the money had been found.

The bill was received was referred to the House Education Committee on Thursday.