North Central Texas College will get an additional $2.4 million from the state over the next two years, increasing its state funding to $22.6 million for 2013-15.
The Legislature appropriated increased funding to NCTC because of its 5.8 percent increase in student contact hours, which are the physical hours a student spends in the classroom. For an average 3-credit-hour class, there are 48 contact hours, said Brent Wallace, NCTC vice president of instruction and chief academic officer.
NCTC was just one of seven community college districts in Texas that saw an increase in contact hours in the past two years, which NCTC President Eddie Hadlock attributed to recent increases in enrollment.
“I’m very pleased with the way they came out with funding this year, and community colleges had a great working relationship with our legislators,” Hadlock said. “I think it was a win-win for both.”
Wallace said the increase in contact hours could also be from more students enrolling full-time instead of part-time, which has been growing as more students attend NCTC for their first two years before heading to a four-year university.
“I think we attribute it to the fact that students are just starting in these community colleges, and students see an excellent price point for quality education,” Wallace said.
Once officials realized there would be an increased cash flow, Hadlock said he approached the Board of Regents in June during the budget workshop to begin hiring new staff and faculty for the fall. The board approved 10 instructional positions and four administrative support positions.
“It allows us to add some additional staff and faculty positions that relate directly to student services,” Hadlock said.
This will be the last time NCTC’s funding is based solely on contact hours. Beginning in 2015, the state is moving to a results-based funding model for community and technical colleges.
Ten percent of the total funding will be based on student success outcomes, including the number of graduates and the types of classes students enroll in and pass, said Dominic Chavez, spokesman for the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board.
“That was a significant move. ... I think Texas has now inserted itself as a leader,” said Chavez, who said the use of outcome-based funding is growing nationwide. “We are arguably the largest and most diverse state for community colleges.”
NCTC has recently added more advising and other student success initiatives on its campuses, so Hadlock said he is not concerned that the new model will negatively impact NCTC in a few years.
“Time will tell, but right now I think we won’t have a problem earning the funding from student success because we have put a number of initiatives in place and support systems to try and help students be more successful, reduce our dropout rates and increase retention, while at the same time maintaining the academic rigor,” he said.
JENNA DUNCAN can be reached at 940-566-6889 and via Twitter at @JennaFDuncan.