Blinn board receives report regarding record enrollment, approves legislative priorities and tax rate
Improved registration experience, communication lead to the highest enrollment in Blinn’s 135-year history
September 18, 2018
The Blinn College District Board of Trustees received a report Tuesday, Sept. 18, outlining the ways in which new student outreach and enrollment services strategies helped the College register 19,581 students for the Fall 2018 semester – the highest enrollment in Blinn’s 135-year history.
The board also approved six policy priorities for the upcoming legislative session and adopted its 2018 tax rate.
Karen Buck, Vice Chancellor for Student Services and Administration, shared with the board a number of techniques College officials used in recent months to make the registration process more convenient. Among other improvements, Blinn introduced text messages designed to help students complete the next step in their registration process, introduced an online high-demand course request form, made live chat functions available on student services web pages, expanded its social media communication, and offered extended registration hours the Saturday prior to the registration deadline.
Buck told the board that Blinn will continue to refine its registration and recruitment processes. On Tuesday, Blinn launched a redesigned website with new, interactive campus maps that allow students to take a virtual tour of the Brenham and Bryan campuses. The College also is preparing to launch a campaign to publicize its new mobile app, which features key information for prospective and current students and assists them throughout registration.
In other business, the board approved six policy priorities for the 86th Texas Legislative session. Blinn will ask state lawmakers to support community colleges as they continue to offering affordable, high-quality academic and career training programs for students. In Fall 2017, approximately 78 percent of Blinn students came from outside the College’s 13-county service area, highlighting Blinn’s role as a vital education provider for students across the State of Texas.
The six policy priorities approved by the board are:
- Blinn supports the state funding goals for community colleges as adopted by the Texas Association of Community Colleges (TACC) and Community College Association of Texas Trustees (CCATT). The Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board’s Community and Technical Colleges Formula Advisory Committee recommends an 8 percent, or $144 million, overall increase in state formula funding for community colleges for a total request of $1.9 billion in the 2020-21 biennium.
- Blinn requests that the Legislature support enhanced policies, programs, and associated funding to strengthen workforce development services and initiatives. This includes continued growth of the Jobs and Education for Texans (JET) Grant Program and the Skills Development Fund Program, both of which are administered by the Texas Workforce Commission, and the inclusion of community colleges in new workforce development policies advanced through the Legislature.
- Blinn respectfully requests that the 86th Legislature clarify the definition of the transfer to a four-year university success point category to include transfers of co-enrolled students.
- Blinn supports the dual credit goals for community colleges adopted by the TACC and the CCATT.
- Blinn requests that the Legislature support additional state funding to offset the rising expenses associated with Hazlewood Act exemptions.
- Blinn requests that the Legislature restore the lost funding to ensure the Star of the Republic Museum’s continued success in educating visitors from across the region and state regarding the proud history of the Texas Republic.
“These policy priorities reflect Blinn’s commitment to providing quality, affordable education for Texas students,” said Leighton Schubert, Vice Chancellor for Public Affairs and Strategic Relations. “With the Legislature’s support, we look forward to reducing barriers to higher education while continuing to offer programs that prepare students to thrive in the workforce.”
The board also adopted a 2018 tax rate of $0.0601 per $100 valuation. That rate maintains the tax rate established in each of the last three years and will generate an estimated $1,973,274 in tax revenue to support Brenham Campus maintenance and operations. This rate equates to approximately $9.23 per month on the average Washington County home valued at $184,266.
According to a survey conducted by the Texas Association of Community Colleges, the average 2017 Texas community college property tax rate was $0.1806.
Blinn hosted public hearings regarding the proposed tax rate on Sept. 4 and Sept. 13. There were no public comments regarding the tax rate in either hearing.
While Blinn provides services to a 13-county area, only Washington County resides within the College’s taxing district. Property tax revenue pays for approximately one-third of the Blinn-Brenham Campus’s maintenance and operations costs, with Brenham Campus student tuition and fee revenues funding the remaining costs. By law, property tax revenue cannot be utilized to fund campuses outside of the taxing district.
According to Blinn College’s most recent economic impact study, state and local taxpayers receive a 9.4 percent annual rate of return on their investment in the Blinn-Brenham Campus. For every dollar taxpayers spend supporting Blinn, they see $4.30 in social savings and benefits. Each year, Blinn-Brenham and its students add approximately $83 million in income to the local economy.
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About Blinn College
With an enrollment of 19,581 students, Blinn ranks among the nation’s leaders in transferring students to leading four-year universities and has received national recognition for affordable educational excellence.