Blinn Board of Trustees authorizes student housing, food service, and parking refunds related to COVID-19

Trustees also establish tuition and fees for 2020-21 and approve new Blinn esports team

March 26, 2020

Meeting via teleconference, the Blinn College District Board of Trustees authorized the College to issue prorated refunds or credits for student housing, food services, and parking services impacted by the COVID-19 coronavirus.

Trustees also heard a report regarding the College’s response to COVID-19, and announcements were made regarding student housing check-out procedures and the postponement of Spring commencement and pinning ceremonies.

REFUNDS AND HOUSING CHECK-OUT

Refunds will cover pro-rated costs of services for the dates between March 15, 2020, and May 14, 2020. Students may choose to apply any pro-rated amounts as a credit to their Fall 2020 student fees or receive a direct refund. The amount of any pro-rated refund or credit will first be used to reduce any existing balance in the students’ fee account, with any remaining amount refunded.

Students residing in on-campus housing must make an appointment with their hall director, remove their belongings, and return their room and mailbox keys by April 20, 2020, to be eligible for the housing refund. Students who are unable to retrieve their items due to travel restrictions must contact their hall director no later than April 20, 2020. Special consideration for extended time to retrieve items will be considered on a case-by-case basis.

Blinn asks that all students who arrive on campus to retrieve items maintain social distancing of at least six feet. The College is limiting the number of students who may enter campus facilities at one time. For more information regarding the move-out process, please contact Housing and Residence Life at 979-830-4461 or housing@blinn.edu.

COVID-19 REPORT

The board also heard a report from several College officials regarding Blinn’s COVID-19 response. Dr. Marcelo Bussiki, Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs, informed the board that more than 2,000 Spring courses had been transferred to an online format.

“As Blinn College faced a challenge unlike any it had seen in its 137-year history, hundreds of Blinn employees came together to ensure that this incredible institution met the challenge,” said Dr. Mary Hensley, Chancellor of the Blinn College District. “Thanks to the dedication of Blinn’s administration, faculty, and staff, our students will be able to complete the semester and continue to pursue their educational goals.”

For more information regarding Blinn’s COVID-19 response, please visit www.blinn.edu/alert/emergency-preparedness.html. Blinn’s COVID-19 frequently asked questions page is available at www.blinn.edu/alert/coronavirus-faqs.html.

COMMENCEMENT AND PINNING CEREMONIES

Karen Buck, Vice Chancellor for Administration and Student Services, announced that Blinn has postponed its Spring 2020 commencement and pinning ceremonies. These ceremonies will be rescheduled for late summer or early fall when local, state, and federal restrictions allow and when it is safe for the Blinn College community to come together again.

“Blinn recognizes that the College’s commencement and pinning ceremonies present an opportunity for our graduates to celebrate their incredible accomplishments and to be recognized for their hard work,” Buck said. “Blinn will begin planning ceremonies for Spring 2020 graduates as soon as health conditions and guidelines allow.”

APPROVAL OF TUITION AND FEES FOR 2020-21

The board approved a $57 per credit hour tuition rate for residents of the taxing district (Washington County), a $115 per credit hour rate for Texas residents from outside the taxing district, and a $274 tuition rate for out of state and foreign students. The general fee was set at $70 per semester hour. The rates represent a $2 increase for in-district and non-resident tuition and a $3 increase in out-of-district tuition and general fees.

According to the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board’s CollegeForAllTexans.com, the average tuition and fee rate for Texas residents at state public universities in 2019-20 was $633.47.

This academic year, Blinn out-of-district students save 42% in tuition and fees compared to the average Texas public university.

The board also approved adjustments to the College’s housing and food service rates as well as changes to course, lab, and auxiliary fees.

The new rates will be applied toward maintaining Blinn’s reputation for academic excellence. The College plans to propose a 3% salary increase for full-time faculty and staff and a $50 per course increase for part-time faculty in the 2020-21 budget.

BLINN TO LAUNCH NEW ESPORTS TEAMS THIS FALL

Blinn is diving into the world of esports with the launch of not one but two esports teams this Fall after the board authorized the launch of the program during Thursday’s meeting.

To lead the teams, Blinn will hire a head coach and an assistant coach.

“Blinn has long been recognized as a leader in creating forward-thinking opportunities for its students,” said Max Hibbs, Dean of Engineering, Computer Technology, and Innovation. “With the addition of these esports teams, we provide students a new way to engage in higher education, and we look forward to building upon today’s announcement with forthcoming academic programs that can prepare students for careers in game development and other high-growth industries.”

The teams would compete in the National Junior College Athletic Association (NJCAA) and the National Association of Collegiate Esports (NACE), and would compete against both two-year colleges and four-year universities. With more than 211 high school esports teams to recruit from in this rapidly growing field, Blinn anticipates fielding two 30-participant teams in the Fall.

OTHER ITEMS

In other business, the board authorized the College to:

  • execute a contract for access control upgrades at the Blinn College Park Apartments on the Brenham Campus,
  • negotiate and execute a contract for the replacement of the roof on Building T of the Bryan Campus,
  • negotiate and execute a contract for maintenance parking lots on the Bryan Campus,
  • and seek proposals for custodial services on the Brenham, Bryan, and RELLIS campuses.

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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.