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Maine Community College System

News Release
MTCS Trustees Approve Statement Affirming Technical Colleges' Core Services and Attributes
Tuition to stay frozen at $68 per credit hour

FOR RELEASE: Thursday, June 28, 2001
CONTACT: Alice Kirkpatrick
Tel: (207) 767-0116, ext. 3

FAIRFIELD, Maine — The Maine Technical College System Board of Trustees, meeting at Kennebec Valley Technical College in Fairfield on Wednesday, adopted a statement affirming the "comprehensive two-year college" role of Maine's seven Technical Colleges. The statement articulates the core services and attributes of a comprehensive two-year college, and will be used as the cornerstone of the System's five-year Strategic Plan now being developed.

Comprehensive two-year colleges in the U.S. offer both occupational programs and liberal arts transfer degrees, preparing students for careers or further study at four-year institutions — as well as business and industry training and lifelong learning opportunities. Maine's Technical Colleges offered all these services but the liberal arts transfer degree until 1999, when the Associate in Arts in Liberal/General Studies was added.

Intended to provide a broad access point to higher education for citizens from diverse backgrounds, comprehensive two-year colleges offer low tuition, open admission, and a range of support services to encourage student success.

"This is a very important document in that it spells out the broad purpose, values and priorities of the Technical Colleges, now and into the future," said MTCS President John Fitzsimmons. "It will serve as a guidepost in future policy and planning discussions," he said.

The statement went through an indepth review and discussion at each college, through employee forums and meetings. The statement was endorsed by each college.

Computer Use Policy Approved

In other highlights, trustees adopted a computer and network use policy for the seven-college System. The policy is intended to promote responsible use of MTCS computer resources among the roughly 8,500 full and part-time students, employees and contract workers of the System. With computer and Internet usage becoming ubiquitous on college campuses, such policies are standard practice in higher education.

Chair and Vice Chair Elected

The Board elected a new slate of officers at the meeting. Jana Lapoint of Falmouth was elected Chair of the board, while Brian Hamel of Presque Isle was elected Vice Chair. Lapoint has been a member of the board since 1995, most recently serving as Vice Chair. She is Vice President for Corporate Affairs at Lapoint Industries in Auburn. Hamel is President of Loring Development Authority in Limestone. He has been a member of the Board since 1998, serving as chair of the Board's Finance and Facilities Committee, and on the Executive Committee. The appointments are effective for one year.

Tuition to stay at $68 per credit hour for fourth consecutive year

For the fourth consecutive year, tuition at the Technical Colleges will stay at $68 per credit hour — or about $2,040 a year for full-time students -- for the 2001-2002 academic year. While system officials had hoped to freeze tuition in the upcoming year, the commitment could not be made until the State budget was finalized and the System's State appropriation known. The State's two-year budget, passed last Friday by the Legislature, provides a four percent increase in fiscal year 2002 for the MTCS, and a two-and-a-half percent increase in fiscal year 2003.

"We're deeply appreciative of the Legislature funding our base budget request," said Fitzsimmons. "Even with those resources, with rising utility costs, fuel, health care and other expenses, it is a great challenge for the colleges to hold the line on tuition. This freeze reaffirms our commitment to offering an affordable college entry point for Maine people," he said.