Board might reignite relationship with Kaplan to increase revenue

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Board might reignite relationship with Kaplan to increase revenue

Serena Guentz, News Editor

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The Board of Trustees discussed the possibility of reuniting with Kaplan International as a way to generate revenue amidst City College’s budget crisis at its meeting Thursday.

In the past, City College has rented out multiple portable classrooms to Kaplan International, a language school that teaches English to international students.

Vice President of Business Services Lyndsay Maas presented the board with a report on facility rentals and the revenue brought in from them. 

Rental of facilities allows people within the community to rent out areas on campus, such as La Playa Stadium, the Garvin Theatre, the Winslow Maxwell Outlook and classrooms for various events or services. Some of these events include weddings, church services, meetings and conferences.

In the last year, these facility rentals have each brought in between about $12,000 and about $56,000.

Renting to Kaplan would greatly increase this revenue. 

Previously, with a weekly rate of $50 per student, hosting Kaplan on campus had brought in about $450,000 to about $731,000 per year with the facility rentals alone. Kaplan also brought revenue to City College through Campus Store sales and Kaplan students transferring to City College after being exposed to the campus.

However, the Board of Trustees voted in 2016 to end the lease with Kaplan, partly due to community concerns with international students. While housing was a perceived issue, most Kaplan students lived in homestays or in La Brezza Apartments, which Kaplan rented to provide housing for students.

Kaplan remains in Santa Barbara on East Cota Street, but international student enrollment has declined since the partnership with Kaplan ended.

The College Planning Council Budget Input Subcommittee recently conducted surveys to rank money-saving and revenue-generating ideas with employees and students.

“All of the groups’ favor… the return of Kaplan, an increase in international and non-local students and increasing efforts to rent out our local facilities here on campus,” said Jason Walker, chair of the Budget Input Subcommittee.

While most of the trustees agreed with the idea to partner with Kaplan again, a lengthy discussion was held among the board about this.

“I’d still be supportive of bringing them back,” said Trustee Jonathan Abboud. “Financially it just makes perfect sense. There was a lot of anti-international student sentiment that I think was very unfair in 2015… I think that was disgusting what was going on.”

Trustee Marsha Croninger was in the minority of the board, disagreeing with the idea to invite Kaplan back.

“I would respectfully disagree, I think we’re risking our bond [with the community],” Croninger said. “It does not make sense to me to just deal with somebody who happens to be knocking on the door.”

Despite Croninger’s position, most of the other trustees expressed support for bringing Kaplan back to campus.

“I think we’ve heard a lot of good ideas here tonight and we should be looking into all of them, but Kaplan is here, ready to sign up now,” said Board President Robert Miller. “I think that if we’re trying to appeal to the community, the community is also concerned that we are fiscally responsible and I think it’s fiscally irresponsible not to sign up Kaplan.”

Interim Superintendent-President Helen Benjamin said that City College and Kaplan International have been talking and they are in a position to bring a contract to the board next month to renew the partnership.

The Board of Trustees will reconvene at its next regular meeting on Dec. 12.

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