Board Approves Housing Rates for Fiscal Year 2008
The Pennsylvania College of Technology Board of Directors on Thursday approved Residence Life housing rates for Fiscal Year 2008.
The new rates reflect an average increase of $141.50 per semester ($283 per year) over Fiscal Year 2007. The board also approved a $3-per-week increase for summer student rates, which will become $108 per week in Fiscal Year 2008.
There will be no changes to the Residence Life activity fee ($18 per semester) and various other housing-related fees. Also remaining unchanged are summer conference rates, which range from $20 per night to $60 per night.
Jill S. Landesberg-Boyle, vice president for student affairs, said there is 100-percent occupancy for on-campus student housing, adding, "We continue to experience a very high demand for our housing program."
The board received a report on the audited financial statements for the college, the Penn College Foundation and the Community Arts Center for the fiscal year ending June 30. Robert M. Fisher, vice president for business affairs, said the auditing firm, Larson Kellett & Associates PC, Montoursville, issued an unqualified clean audit opinion, with no condition worthy of comment in a management letter.
The board heard a presentation from Dennis L. Correll, director of financial aid, who spoke about the various forms of financial assistance provided to Penn College students. Grants, scholarships and other financial aid to students totaled nearly $70 million in 2005-06, he said, adding that the figure has grown at a rate of approximately $7 million per year.
He said the number of student phone calls to the Financial Aid office has been decreased from about 55,000 to 34,000 per year due to enhanced efforts to provide students with the information they need.
Outreach and education initiatives include student testing days and programs for parents, a FAFSA (Free Application for Federal Student Aid) completion day each January, and information sessions at Connections and Parent and Family Weekend, among others.
Correll said students with loan debt benefit from such measures as online entrance and exit counseling, in-person exit counseling and the Job Location and Development Program. In 2005-06, 75.4 percent of the Penn College student population received some form of financial aid.
In another presentation, Elliott Strickland, special assistant to the vice president for student affairs, and Danielle Coakley, community assistant, spoke about the creation of the Community Assistant Program.
Strickland noted the majority of students attending Penn College still live off campus. He said the college has addressed the safety and social needs of off-campus students and is continuing this outreach by focusing on "community building" via the Community Assistant Program.
"The idea of community is more than just people living together," he said. "It is a larger issue of individuals learning from one another, respecting one another and working to improve themselves and others for a greater purpose."
Coakley, a senior enrolled in the graphic communications management major, is a former president and member of Gamma Epsilon Tau, the honors fraternity for graphic arts. She has lived in off-campus housing all four years that she has been a student at Penn College.
She said her responsibilities include creating a community for the students of Vine Avenue and promoting a safer environment, as well as serving as a resource for students on various issues, a point of contact for residents, and a liaison between residents and the college faculty and administration.
This is accomplished, she said, through programs and activities such as Connections, Welcome Weekend, Visitation Days, an Off-Campus Housing Expo, a Meet and Greet Cookout, and door-to-door introductions to students. Upcoming events include a self-defense spa, a student-housing legal clinic and a spring poker tournament.
"We're trying to make students feel connected to the community," she said.
Penn College President Davie Jane Gilmour informed the board about the impending relationship with the Industrial Modernization Center, for which the college will provide administrative services beginning in January. The IMC will move into the Center for Business and Workforce Development (the former BiLo building) when that facility is finished next year.
"I think it's going to be a great marriage," she said.
At the conclusion of the meeting, Chairman Robert E. Dunham thanked Rep. Brett O. Feese (who was unable to attend) for his many contributions to the college during his tenure as a board member including the securing of $7 million in state funds for construction of the Madigan Library and similar efforts for other college projects.
Feese is retiring this year from the state House of Representatives, where he has served as Appropriations Committee chairman. A new board member from the Legislature will be appointed in January.
"He has been a tremendous board of directors member.... He really has been a board member and a director who has delivered," Dunham said of Feese.