Clarion Room and Board Rates Rank Low in System

CLARION – Clarion University will continue its ranking as one of the least expensive university for room and board after a combined four percent increase was approved Thursday night at a regular meeting of the Council of Trustees.

New rates, starting with the 2010-11 academic year, set the double room per semester fee at $2,261 and meal plan at $1,072 for the 19 standard per semester.

Siting increased costs in personnel, utilities, and the CPI-U U.S. Index, Harry Tripp, vice president for student and university affairs, requested approval for the new rates.

“The combined room and board increase would be approximately four percent, resulting in a combined room and board rate of $3,585 when opting for the 19 meal plan with flex,” said Tripp.  “When choosing the 19 meal plan without flex the combined cost would be $3,333.”

In comparing the rates with sister institutions of the Pennsylvania Sate System of Higher Education, Tripp noted Clarion will be 10th in combined room and board rate when compared to a double room with a 19 meal plan with flex.  “We are 12th when choosing the 19 meal plan without flex,” said Tripp.

Extended programs attracting more students

Extended programs at Clarion offer courses outside of the traditional classroom and now account for approximately 20 percent of the total enrollment.  Art Acton, assistant vice president for extended programs, outlined the various ways classes are now being offered.

Activities include:

•Extended Programs – Distance Education and Extended Studies; the Center for Teaching Excellence, The Pittsburgh Site, Continuing Education and the Health Science Education Center

•Distance Education – Online and Interactive Television (ITV) classes

 •Extended Studies – Face-to-face classes not on the Clarion or Venango Campuses

 •Web Class – A class that is 80 percent or more online

•Virtual Campus – All of Clarion’s online programs

Acton is confident that enrollment will continue to grow in these areas, including a dramatic change in summer school classes.  More classes are offered on-line during summer school than on campus.

“Summer school and graduate programs will continue to grow as more and more people chose the flexibility of on-line classes or other extended study options,” said Acton.

Courses offered through extended programs have the same content and professors as the courses offered in the traditional classroom.  Transcripts reflect that the courses have been completed at Clarion University and no distinction is made if the class is taken on-line or on campus.

Capital program submissions approved

 Trustees approved the annual submission of capital programs to the Pennsylvania State System of Higher Education.  While the program for the submissions is for 2011-12, no funding has been appropriated.

Topping the list, as in past years, is the $26.4 million renovation and expansion of Tippin Gymnasium and Natatorium.  “A feasibility study is currently being conducted to determine if rehabilitation of the existing facility is practical or if a new facility or group of facilities should be considered,” said Paul Bylaska, vice president for finance and administration.

 “This facility meets the needs of the University’s Health and Physical Education programs,” continued Bylaska in his written description of the project.  “Architectural, structural, electrical, mechanical, and plumbing systems in the facility have either reached or exceeded their expected service life and require major renovations.  Deterioration of these systems within the natatorium is particular significant.

Virtually all of Tippin’s programmatic facilities are overcrowded, since they were designed for a student body of 3,600.  With the current enrollment, there is a severe limitation of the availability of the gymnasium floor, the natatorium, locker rooms, and shower space.  These facilities operate for 15 to 17 hours daily to partially overcome this space deficit, but course offerings per semester are still severely restricted.  Apart from the basic Health and Physical Education requirements which apply to all University students, there is also a need to accommodate inner-collegiate athletic programs.”

Other proposed capital program submissions and their priority include:

•Renovate and expand Marwick Boyd Fine Arts Center, $26.2 million

 •Renovate Becker Hall, $14.4 million

 •Modify facilities for ADA compliance, $6.5 million.

New Health Science degree approved

Provost Valentine James requested and received approval for a new Bachelor of Science in Health Science degree.  The degree will be primarily an online degree completion program for working professionals who have completed a formal, accredited educational program in an allied health profession.

“Students may also complete course work for this degree by taking traditional classroom course or via mixed method,” said James.  “Online courses will enable working professionals who are constrained by the demands of work and family or by geographical location to achieve academic goals while also meeting family and work requirements.  The degree is appropriate for a variety of allied health professionals including radiologic technologists, nuclear medicine technologists, radiation therapists, respiratory therapists, dental hygienists, dieticians, paramedics, medical lab technicians, occupational therapists, and others.”

Next meeting

Attending the meeting were Chair R. Lee James of Oil City, Howard Shreckengost of New Bethlehem, Dr. Syed R. Ali-Zaidi of Shippenville, Susanne Burns of Shippenville, James Kifer of Rimersburg, Kyle McMunn of Knox, Donna Oberlander of Clarion, and Larry Pickett of Pittsburgh,

 The next meeting of the Council of Trustees will be held Thursday, April 15, at 7 p.m. in the Carlson Library Board Room.

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