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Contact: Office of the President -
208/792-2216; Associated Student Body Office - 208/798-2256
Student Fees Top List of Questions
at March 'Dine with Dene' Session
At her monthly luncheon discussion with students last Thursday, LCSC President Dene
Thomas fielded a variety of questions centered on student fees. Fees have been a hot topic
following the college's proposal to raise fees to help it cope with state funding
cutbacks. A public hearing on the topics is scheduled for Tuesday, March 19, at noon.
Around the table in the Student Union Building, queries ranged from, "Why does this
have to happen?" to alternative ideas and questions of, "Can we do it this
Students were especially interested in the possibility they might be required to have
health insurance. Thomas responded: "The State Board of Education (SBOE) has mandated
that, by next fall, all students in the state's institutions of higher learning will be
required to carry health insurance. LCSC is currently the only one not requiring it.
Health care providers classify our uninsured students as indigent county residents and, as
such, their health care costs are paid by Nez Perce County. The county and, of course, the
legislators don't like that."
She went on to say that, rather than fight this mandate, she wants to take advantage of
the flexibility the college currently has in defining benefits and costs of student
insurance. She feels focusing on options now-before the state mandates specific
requirements-will allow the school to offer choices that best suit the needs of LCSC
students. "There's a lot of ground between the least expensive and most expensive
options out there," she said.
As an example, she said the college will be looking into the low-cost insurance offered
to Eastern Idaho Technical College students. "Defining what we want in a policy and
then negotiating with the company is key to having insurance we can all live with,"
Thomas states. She closed on this topic by saying the insurance could be required as soon
as fall semester 2002 or as late as fall semester 2003.
To a question of, "Why are part-time student fees so high?" Thomas responded
that the SBOE requires the part-time fee be about 1/10th of full-time costs and that LC's
charges are in line with that. A suggestion from a student that the credit overload number
is too low piqued the president's interest and she agreed to look closely at this issue.
The session wound down with two questions not related to student fees, but of interest to
all. First was, " As acting Athletic Director, are you drawing the AD's salary in
addition to your own?" Answer: "No. Some of that salary is going to pay for AD
duties I have delegated but, bottom line, the college is saving money by having me in the
The final question focused on how the college can be adding new programs and positions
during this time of severe budget cutbacks. One such program is Radiation Technology.
Thomas explained, "Radiation Technology is a hot new occupation all over the United
States and hospitals cannot get enough workers skilled in it. In this case, St. Joseph
Regional Medical Center is providing the space, equipment and part of the money for our
program. There is a lot of interest in having the program-on the part of both students and
the community-they need our graduates."
Her answer was similar regarding the college's current efforts to fill a computer science
position. "There is a high demand for people skilled in this field. It strengthens us
to build enrollment through programs that meet such demand. " Thomas added that the
college's strategy for coping with budget cuts has included building on the college's
strengths and, she said, offering education for high-demand fields benefits the college