SSC Freezes Tuition for Second Year in a Row

At their meeting on June 20, the Seminole State College Board of Regents approved the budget for the upcoming fiscal year, which includes a cost-of-living raise for employees and no increase to tuition.

During the meeting, President Lana Reynolds provided an update on personnel changes and end of the academic year campus activities.

The first two items on the agenda were the consideration of renewing the College’s Memorandum of Understanding with Gordon Cooper Technology Center for SSC’s Physical Therapist Assistant and Medical Laboratory Technology programs. Both programs hold their classes on GCTC’s Shawnee campus. The Board approved the MOU renewals.

With the third item on the agenda, the Board declared a State of Emergency as a result of the June 2024 flooding. Following torrential rains that fell on June 3 and 4, several buildings on campus experienced water damage, including the Walkingstick Student Services Center, Dan and Andrea Boren Center, Colclazier Building, Scott Building, Tanner Hall and the E.T. Dunlap Student Union. The College’s state Risk Management insurance will cover the cost of the repairs once the institution’s $25,000 deductible has been met.

The fourth item on the agenda centered on SSC’s Educational and General Fund Budget for the 2025 fiscal year. The proposed budget was relatively flat, given no substantial increase in the allocation of funding from the Oklahoma State Legislature. Although there were no new operational dollars, the College will receive additional funding to address increased insurance costs and deferred maintenance. Through the restructuring of administrative duties and SSC’s positive cash flow, the institution will be able to include a one-percent cost-of-living raise for all full-time employees. These savings and cash flow funds will also allow SSC to meet federal salary requirements through the Fair Standards and Labor Act (FSLA), which goes into effect July 1, without having to reclassify employees.

“I want to commend Vice President Melanie Rinehart, along with Human Resources Director Holly Wilson-Byrd and other members of the administrative team, for working through the nuances of preparing the budget,” President Reynolds said.

This marks the second year in a row that SSC has not increased tuition. Across the state, 15 two-year colleges and four-year universities are seeking approval for tuition and/or fee increases for the upcoming academic year.

“We strive to keep costs down for our students,” President Reynolds said. “Despite the flat budget, we’ve kept our students and employees at the forefront of our decisions.”

With the fifth and sixth items on the agenda, the Board approved title changes for Vice Presidents Dr. Bill Knowles and Melanie Rinehart. As part of SSC’s administrative restructuring, the responsibilities previously held by the Vice President for Academic Affairs will be split between Dr. Knowles and Rinehart. The College will also create a Dean of Instruction position. Dr. Knowles’ new title will be Vice President for Academic and Student Affairs. Rinehart’s new title will be Vice President for Finance, Grants and Enrollment.

Posing for a photo are SSC Vice Presidents Melanie Rinehart (left) and Dr. Bill Knowles (right.)
SSC Vice Presidents Melanie Rinehart (left) and Dr. Bill Knowles (right) received title changes at the Board of Regents meeting. Dr. Knowles will now serve as Vice President for
Academic and Student Affairs. Rinehart’s new title will be Vice President for Finance, Grants and Enrollment.

The Board then entered executive session for an update on mediation from the College’s legal counsel, Assistant Attorney General Whitney Herzog Scimeca, regarding an EEOC charge numbered 564-2023-02134. The executive session is authorized by Section 307(B)(4) of the Oklahoma Open Meeting Act.

The Board returned to open session to approve two items under the consent agenda. The Regents approved the 2024-2025 holiday schedule and a contract with Brightspace for use of its online learning platform.

As the meeting drew to a close, SSC Board of Regents Chair Kim Hyden was recognized for her service. Hyden was appointed to the Board on July 1, 2017. Her seven-year term will conclude on June 30.

“We thank Regent Hyden for her exemplary service to the Board and the institution. Her leadership and commitment have greatly contributed to the success of the College. She has always been supportive of our students, our athletic teams and our faculty and staff. She will be missed,” President Reynolds said.

Board members present at the meeting were: Chair Kim Hyden, Marci Donaho, Ryan Pitts and Robyn Ready.

The next SSC Board of Regents meeting is set for Thursday, July 18, 2024.