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CSI food processing

Food science quality assurance instructor Janna Hamlett explains in April 2015 how a centrifugal pump is used to teach food processing skills at the College of Southern Idaho.

TWIN FALLS — The College of Southern Idaho is preparing to launch its first bachelor’s degree program this fall and has now figured out how much participating students will pay.

CSI’s board of trustees voted unanimously Monday to charge $285 per credit — the same rate out-of-state and foreign students pay for lower-division classes.

That’s less than what Idaho’s four-year universities charge, but about twice as much as the $140 per credit CSI’s in-district lower-division students pay.

The new degree program, a bachelor’s degree in advanced food processing technology, was approved by the Idaho State Board of Education. It’s the college’s first bachelor’s degree and the first among Idaho community colleges.

“Is that appropriate for the cost the college is going to incur?” trustee Scott McClure asked college administrators during the meeting Monday.

CSI executive vice president Todd Schwarz responded: “We did significant cash flow analysis to determine the sustainability of the program.” Without knowing how many students will enroll yet, Schwarz said, he feels the tuition rate is sufficient.

After doing some math about the total cost per year for the new bachelor’s degree program, trustee Laird Stone said: “We’re actually still less than the four-year universities for the same degree.”

It’s an even better value since the CSI degree will be all upper-division classes, Schwarz said.

By comparison, per-credit undergraduate tuition this school year for part-time students is $350 at Boise State University, $372 at Idaho State University and $393 at the University of Idaho.

To comply with state law, which requires keeping community college and upper division operations separate, CSI plans to “create a separate fund to track all revenue and expenditures associated with this and future upper division programs,” vice president of administration Jeff Harmon wrote in a memorandum to the board.

CSI can’t use regular state funds to support the program, and it must be self-sufficient, Harmon told trustees.

The program is designed for associate’s degree graduates and industry workers, Schwarz said, and he envisions they’ll chip away at a bachelor’s degree over time. He said he anticipates it will take longer than two years for the first bachelor’s degree graduates to materialize.

CSI is leading the way by offering a bachelor’s degree, board chairwoman Jan Mittleider said. “Other Idaho community colleges are waiting to see what happens.”

During their Monday meeting, trustees also:

  • Heard an update on the Boys & Girls Clubs of Magic Valley’s plans to expand its Twin Falls club.

Executive director Lindsey Westburg and a few of the nonprofit’s board members were at the CSI meeting.

The nonprofit is moving forward with the second phase of an expansion project, an addition to create space for a teen center and kindergarten program. It plans to break ground in June or July, and the project is slated for completion in 2020.

The organization launched a capital campaign in 2017 for the expansion project. The fundraising goal is about $2 million. The nonprofit has about $1.7 million in funding thus far and is waiting to hear back on the remaining $300,000 by May 23.

Officials have applied to foundations seeking funding. It also received about $500,000 in pledges from the club’s board members, and the J.A. and Kathryn Albertson Family Foundation has pledged $600,000 as a matching grant.

  • Heard an information report from Southern Idaho Economic Development.

Director Connie Stopher, who started in the position two years ago, talked about efforts such as starting a talent recruitment program, a shift toward more digital marketing and targeted advertising (such as reaching out to General Motors workers losing their jobs and looking for a career change about opportunities in the Magic Valley), and its website, social media channels and podcast.

  • Approved a Head Start/Early Head Start report.
  • Heard from a speaker, Michael Howell, during a public comment period.

Howell is the leader of the CSI traumatic brain injury support group, which meets from 6:30-8 p.m. the second Thursday of each month in room 109 of the Shields Building.

  • Set a schedule for 2019-20 board meetings and a budget hearing.
  • Heard building and construction updates.

A Taylor Building remodeling project will begin this summer, Harmon said. A request for proposals will be out Wednesday for architectural services for another project — an on-campus veterinary technology building.

After that, the next building CSI is looking to remodel is the Canyon Building, through an Idaho Division of Public Works project.

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