1 VIRGINIA COMMUNITY COLLEGE SYSTEM RESPONSES TO FOLLOW-UP QUESTIONS ON VCCS SIX YEAR PLAN October 1, REALLOCATION OF E&G BUDGET: The target reallocation amount for the VCCS in the 2012 Appropriation Act is $4,439,267 in FY 2013 and $5,919,022 in FY The VCCS plan exceeds those amounts with reallocations of $4,800,000 the first year and $6,000,000 in the second year for strategies in support of TJ 21 initiatives. 2. FINANCIAL AID: Virginia s Community Colleges use the middle income definition established by SCHEV. Low income is defined as income that is less than middle income. VCCS colleges make every effort to ensure that tuition and fees are fully covered for low income students with a combination of Pell, SEOG, and a variety of state aid programs (COMA, VGAP, and CSAP). Most VCCS colleges have revised their awarding schedule to consider the increase in tuition and to ensure that the middle income population has increased access to state aid. This involved extending the EFC ceiling for state aid in order to include more middle income students in addition to increasing award amounts for existing EFC ranges. Several colleges utilize VCCS programs (PTAP and VCCS Grant), scholarships, and/or institutional funds to meet the needs of middle income students more effectively particularly for those with limited or no Federal Pell Grant eligibility. The SCHEV definition of middle income was applied retroactively to financial aid data. In , Virginia s Community Colleges awarded aid to 55,602 low income students and 18,141 middle income students. Also in , the portion of total financial aid going to low income aid recipients was 74.5% ($241,715,169), while the portion of total financial aid going to middle income aid recipients was 19.5% ($63,110,731). 3. GENERAL FUND ASSUMPTIONS: For FY 2013, the plan was amended to reflect funding levels in the 2012 Appropriation Act, Chapter 3. The additional $3.24 million from the general fund supports academic strategies, including enhancing STEM-H programs, improving the proportion of full-time faculty, and supporting the SySTEMic Solutions program at Northern Virginia Community College. The $17.48 million from additional tuition revenue will support enrollment growth and costs increases in technology services and operations and maintenance of new buildings. In FY 2014, the plan reflects an additional $29.7 million in general fund support to continue first year initiatives, increase funding for STEM-H support, improve the proportion of fulltime faculty ratio an additional 2 percent, and includes funding for a 2 percent salary increase
2 for faculty and classified employees. This is $4.6 million above the general fund appropriation in Chapter COST SAVING MEASURES The Virginia Community College System have implemented or are in the process or implementing a number of initiatives this biennium that will result in savings in operating costs, lower costs to students, or cost avoidance. All of these initiatives are in support of Achieve 2015, the VCCS strategic plan and many originated with the Reengineering Taskforce that has been reexamining all aspects of our operations. Examples of these initiatives include: Shared Services Distance Learning Program through Northern Virginia Community College Through a shared services arrangement, students at twelve community colleges across the state are enrolling seamlessly in on-line courses originating at Northern Virginia Community College (NVCC) with all enrolling, billing, and financial aid processes occurring at the student s home institution. This program provides students access to courses that the colleges would not have resources or enrollment demand to offer on their own. While students have had the option to enroll in these online courses for some time, they had to enroll at NVCC to receive the class which caused a number of administrative hurdles. Under this agreement, all of the coordination is done between the colleges without any additional requirements for the students. The colleges and NVCC have established a revenue and enrollment shared agreement that appropriately compensates each institution. The Shared Services Distance Learning (SSDL) pilot began in January 2012 with an enrollment of 795 students from 10 different colleges in 108 course sections. Through the pilot, the colleges identified improvements that would enhance the student experience. In academic year , NVCC provided 220 on-line courses to 2,046 students in 11 colleges. The twelfth partner college will join the SSDL in spring This program was started and operates with no new funding, but it has expanded access significantly across the Commonwealth. Developmental Education Redesign A major initiative of the Reengineering effort is the redesign of developmental mathematics and reading and writing courses. About half of students entering the community colleges require remediation to obtain the skills needed to enter college level courses and curricula. However, the traditional methods involving high credit courses were not successful with low levels of success and persistence. Through an extensive process coordinated by the VCCS and led by college faculty, the redesign of
3 developmental mathematics including a new curriculum and placement test was completed in 2011 with the new program rolling out to colleges in January The same process is currently underway for the redesign of developmental reading and writing for implementation in January The content of the redesigned mathematics courses has been organized into nine onecredit courses (units) based on streamlined content and faculty-developed student learning outcomes. A new web-based, adaptive placement and diagnostic instrument was developed to better determine which units a student needs to complement existing knowledge and obtain the skills needed for his or her program of study. Students enroll only in the units they need unlike the former high-credit, semester-long classes. The impact of the redesign is being closely monitored to determine if the changes result in better outcomes. Initial results are positive, but enrollments are being impacted by students taking fewer developmental mathematics courses this year. This is reducing costs to the students and the Commonwealth. Preliminarily, the VCCS estimates that students are saving as much as much as $15 million in tuition costs during the fall semester alone. A significant amount of resources have been required to redesign the curricula and assessment instruments, provide professional development for faculty, renovate space to accommodate the different course delivery methods, and to develop the structure to evaluate the effectiveness of the changes. The expenses have been funded primarily through reallocation of existing resources, with modest support from a grant. Improve Learning Outcomes and Reduce Student and College Costs Another major Reengineering initiative underway is to identify and articulate expected learning outcomes for courses, particularly in prerequisite courses and high enrollment courses with low success and/or low persistence rates. The first course for which the standard outcomes were developed was Psychology (PSY) 200. The PSY 200 Articulate Learning Outcomes (ALO) Curriculum Committee, consisting of PSY faculty from all 23 colleges, developed a revised course description, course prerequisite recommendations, detailed student learning outcomes, an assessment plan, a resource repository, and a professional development plan. Faculty at Central Virginia, Northern Virginia, and Thomas Nelson Community Colleges have been awarded grants to develop model PSY 200 courses in on-campus, hybrid, and online formats. A professional development plan has been developed to prepare psychology faculty for the implementation of the revised PSY 200 course in fall 2013.
4 In September 2012 two ALO curriculum committees with representatives from each of colleges started the process for the Accounting 211 and Biology 101 courses. These efforts are aimed at improving student success and persistence, which should produce costs savings for the students and the Commonwealth. New Faculty Role: Associate Instructor Currently, the VCCS delivers instruction primarily through the employment of full-time 9-month teaching faculty and part-time adjunct faculty. The colleges rely heavily on part-time faculty who account for over 75% of the faculty headcount. As a part of the Reengineering efforts, new types of faculty positions have been established to be used optionally by colleges to provide greater flexibility in the use and management of personnel resources. One of the new faculty types is the Associate Instructor position, which will carry a higher instructional load than regular 9-month teaching faculty, but would be relieved of most administrative, committee, and governance duties. Faculty appointed to this position will be required to spend considerable time in student support and student success related activities. The salaries for this position will be about 20% lower than a 9-month faculty position, but will be responsible for teaching 20% more hours than the regular teaching load. The Associate Instructor role is designated as a temporary position that allows colleges more flexibility in staffing programs that may change over time or due to changes in enrollment. The Associate Instructor position provides a lower cost option to improve the proportion of full-time faculty than only hiring traditional full-time positions. Statewide Guaranteed Admission Agreement with Western Governors University for Affordable Bachelor in Nursing Degree Virginia's Community Colleges have entered into a new statewide guaranteed admission agreement with Western Governors University (WGU) to offer a faster and more affordable pathway to a baccalaureate degree for nursing students. WGU is a nonprofit, online university created by 19 U.S governors to expand access to higher education through online, competency-based degree programs. WGU has grown into a national university, serving more than 34,000 students from all 50 states. Students who take advantage of the guaranteed admission agreement could earn a bachelor's degree in three years at an estimated total cost of $17,000 in tuition and fees. The guaranteed admission agreement requires students to first earn their associate's degree in nursing from one of Virginia's community colleges and pass the NCLEX licensure examination to become a Registered Nurse. The students must also be employed in the field of nursing in order to be accepted into WGU. Those students would
5 Credit Audit then complete nine additional courses, for a total of 26 credit hours (also called competency units), through WGU on-line classes to earn their bachelor's degree in nursing. This program provides a lower cost option to some nursing students to obtain a high demand degree and meet healthcare staffing needs in the state. Colleges have reviewed academic programs with unusually high number of credit hour requirements to determine whether the same program and general education outcomes could be achieved by fewer credit hours, thereby reducing time to degree for students and eliminating some tuition expense. During the first phase of the credit audit process, over 200 transfer degrees offered by VCCS colleges were reviewed in light of the guidance to reduce credits to credits. Of those, a little over half were targeted for credit reduction to the credits, while another 20% already had a credit total in the credit range. Colleges have now started work on the second phase of project which is the credit audit of applied degrees. The ideal credit total for this cluster of programs is credits. Colleges will complete the process of identifying programs targeted for credit reduction and complete justifications for current credit totals by December 4. Then colleges will be reviewing their certificate and diploma programs for possible credit total reduction, with responses expected in early November The credit audit initiative is providing an opportunity to bring direct benefits to students in time to degree and tuition, while preserving VCCS general education and programspecific learning outcomes. An evaluation of the cost savings resulting from the audits is being developed. Student Services A major effort is underway to redesign the delivery of student support services so those functions that are most effective in promoting student success and are delivered in the most cost efficient manner. A number of these services can be delivered through online applications and are funded through a federal grant (Trade Adjustment Assistance Community College and Career Training (TAA-CCCT)) awarded to Tidewater Community College as the lead institution on behalf of Virginia s community colleges. These services under development include:
6 Online Tutoring: A system-wide contract was awarded to two vendors for high-quality, online tutoring services at a lower cost for colleges. The new contract lowers the costs for this service as much as 40%. Enterprise Early Alert System: A workgroup of college representatives have identified requirements for an automated early warning and intervention system (E-WISe) that will notify faculty, students, and support staff when students exhibit behaviors that signal problems with attending classes or completing coursework. Development of the system is in progress. High School Transcript Processing: Five colleges, selected based on the capability of the high schools within their service regions to send electronic transcripts as electronic files, piloted the process in spring The service became available to all colleges in November This service significantly reduces the administrative burden for students, the school systems, and the colleges. Career and College Planning: The Automated Career Planning initiative is a project funded through the TAA-CCCT grant. Initial planning has started to both enhance the Virginia Education Wizard and to implement academic advising tools in the VCCS Student Information System. All of these projects will enhance student support services, which will contribute to improved student success and more degrees. The enhanced services will be provided in a cost effective manner. 5. Not applicable. 6. DELETION OF STRATEGIES/INITIATIVES: The revised VCCS plan does not delete previously submitted strategies. One sub-objective in priority item 15 was deleted due to lack of funding. Five strategies are at least partially funded in the first-year with federal grants and other eight strategies from reallocation of funding. Some initiatives are part of ongoing operations and may require no additional funding to implement.