The Parkland College Blog

Trustees Vote For Tuition Freeze, Debt Forgiveness Plan

Trustees approve Cobra Comeback program, freeze tuition rates

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Parkland College plans to keep next year's base tuition rates at the same level as 2019-2020 and will offer encumbered students up to $2,000 of debt forgiveness through a new initiative. 

Parkland in-district rates will remain at $148.50 per credit hour (all Tier One courses) for the 2020-2021 academic year, the Parkland College Board of Trustees announced at its regular meeting Wednesday. Parkland President Tom Ramage made the recommendation not to increase tuition rates based on a careful analysis of projected revenues and expenditures.

State decreases in funding over the past several years had put increasing pressure on student tuition to make up the difference, concerning the Board. Administrators say recent measures put in place to reduce costs make it possible to hold the tuition rate steady for the coming academic year.

Along with freezing tuition rates for next year, the Board of Trustees has approved a new debt forgiveness program, called Cobra Comeback, which will allow returning students a chance to restart their education at Parkland by removing financial holds preventing registration. For each course in which these returning students earn a C or higher, the cost of current tuition per credit hour will be removed from their past-due balance, according to Dean of Enrollment Management Kristin Smigielski. Eligibility for the Cobra Comeback program also includes:

  • good academic standing 

  • debt of no more than $2,000

  • non-enrollment at Parkland during the past academic year

"With Cobra Comeback, Parkland College continues its mission to engage the community in learning by ensuring that all students have a second chance at completing an academic credential," Smigielski said. "We want to provide maximum access to the training and transfer programs available here, to enrich the lives of students and their families."

Potential program participants must complete an eligibility form. Find it and more information about the program at

In other business, the Board also approved:

  • the extension of the Lease Agreement with the State of Illinois CMS (IDES and IDHS) to extend the term through February 28, 2025.

  • the purchase of 4,000 ALEKS PPL testing units from McGraw-Hill, $60,000. 

  • the following personnel appointments:

    • Lauren Craig, Purchasing Agent, Business Office

    • Elizabeth Horne, Assistant Teacher, Child Development Center

    • Barry Pelmore, Custodian, Physical Plant

    • Kennedy Potempa, Assistant, Accessibility Services

    • Molly Rittenhouse, CTE Perkins program manager, Career and Technical Education

    • Kenyatta Ruff, Custodian, Physical Plant



Applicants to Fill Parkland College Trustee Vacancy Announced

Parkland College announces applicants for vacant Board of Trustee position

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The Parkland College Board of Trustees has selected the following individuals for interviews at a special Board meeting on Tuesday, March 10, 2020. The interviews will take place during open session in the order in which their applications were received. The meeting will begin at 7 p.m., with 20 minute interviews for each candidate.

Maureen Banks, Champaign
Mark Dixon, Urbana
Michael Foellmer, Champaign
Erin Nuss, Gibson City
Barbara Schurter, Champaign
Bradley Uken, Mahomet

Applications were accepted through noon, February 12, 2020. The candidate chosen as Trustee will serve until the next Board of Trustees election in April 2021.

For more information, please feel free to contact Krystal Garrett at 217/351-2533.

Parkland Board Accepting Applications to Fill Vacancy

Position will serve until next Board of Trustees election in April 2021

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The Parkland College Board of Trustees, District 505, is accepting applications to fill a current vacancy on the Board. This position as Trustee will serve until the next Board of Trustees election in April 2021. 

Interested persons should send no more than six pages, including a Letter of Intent and resume to Krystal Garrett, Assistant to the President and the Board of Trustees, by 12 p.m. on Wednesday, February 12, 2020. 


To be eligible for this position, the candidate must be a citizen of the United States, 18 years of age or older, a resident of Illinois and District #505 for at least one year preceding the date of appointment, and not treasurers of a common School Board. District 505 includes Champaign, Coles, DeWitt, Douglas, Edgar, Ford, Iroquois, Livingston, McLean, Moultrie, Piatt, and Vermilion counties. 

A map of Parkland College District #505 is available on the college website. 

Send applications via mail to:

Krystal Garrett, Room U330
Parkland College
2400 West Bradley Avenue
Champaign, IL 61821

Or, apply by email:


Questions regarding the process can be directed to Krystal Garrett at 217/351-2533 or

Knott to Step Down from Parkland Board Following UI Appointment

Trustee's eight-year service ends Jan. 5; board to announce process to fill vacancy

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Parkland College Board of Trustees Chair Gregory Knott will step down as a member of the board in January following an announcement today of his appointment as the ninth secretary of the University of Illinois System and Board of Trustees. 
Knott will resign effective Jan. 5, 2020, and is slated to begin his new role Jan. 6 in a designate capacity, pending approval from University of Illinois trustees on Jan. 16. Parkland College President Dr. Thomas Ramage commended Knott on the announcement and his service to the college.
"Mr. Knott's leadership and active engagement in the governance of the college has been tremendously valuable over the past eight years," Ramage said. "He has continued the legacy of stability and stewardship that Parkland has been known for since its inception. He leaves his post as chairman having made a lasting, positive impact on the institution. We are grateful for his service and wish him well in this new professional endeavor at the university."
Elected to Parkland's board in 2011, Knott served as vice chair from 2015-2018 and stepped into the role of chair in April 2019. He is a graduate of Parkland College and a member of the Parkland College Foundation Board of Directors. Prior to serving Parkland in this capacity, he was a member of the Champaign County Board from 2000 to 2011. 
"It has been an honor and privilege to serve Parkland College in this capacity over the past eight years," Knott remarked. "I feel confident that the college is in a strong position to continue providing high-quality, affordable, and relevant programs to the District 505 community in the years to come. Parkland plays a critical role in the vitality of our community, and I feel honored to have been a part of fulfilling its mission."
Vice Chair Bianca Green will lead the trustees in the process of filling the vacancy left by Knott. More information on the timeline and process for filling the board vacancy will be available in the new year. 


Parkland College has received high marks for financial soundness from external auditors and is enhancing career and technical programs at the college through a recent increase in federal grant funds. 

The Parkland College Board of Trustees officially accepted the Comprehensive Annual Financial Report (CAFR) from Martin Hood, LLC, at its meeting Wednesday. The report presented the college with an unqualified "clean" opinion of its FY 2019 financial statements, the best type to receive from independent review. The audit highlights the college's exemplary fiscal management and includes reports on Parkland's schedule of expenditures of federal awards and its internal control over financial reporting and compliance.

Also at their meeting, trustees received an update on how a $643,000 Carl D. Perkins grant Parkland received for AY 2020 is being used to strengthen career and technical programs and support students in underrepresented groups. Through the Strengthening Career and Technical Education for the 21st Century Act (Perkins V), the US Dept. of Education is providing more than $1.2 billion in federal aid this year to bolster CTE programs across the country. 

Pamela Lau, Executive Vice President, reported that the Perkins funds are being used in several major ways. First, they will help develop an apprenticeship office at Parkland College; this effort will accelerate the development of apprenticeships with the College, which has obtained status as a US Department of Labor intermediary, one that proactively addresses workforce needs for both employees and employers. The funds will also allow the college to provide career-exploration software, soft-skills training, summer camps, and other work-based learning tools for students. Under the leadership of Bobbi Scholze, Parkland's dean of career and technical education, the College will continue expanding pathways to obtain CTE credentials in collaboration with Parkland's Adult Education and Community Education units. Finally, Parkland will make capital equipment purchases and lab and software upgrades that help boost CTE program technology.

In other business, the board approved the following:

  • purchase of body-worn cameras and associated hardware and software from WatchGuard, Inc., Allen, Texas, $22,355;

  • purchase of a 15-passenger commercial bus from Midwest Transit Equipment of Kankakee, $50,628;

  • retaining Henneman Engineering, Inc. of Champaign for the development and design of the campus electronic door lock upgrade, $509,850;

  • purchase of the pre-exposure rabies vaccine administration from McKinley Health Center in Urbana for veterinary tech students, $21,420;

  • receipt of funds from the Illinois Community College Board (ICCB) Workforce Equity Initiative. College officials publicly announce the grant award on Thursday, Oct. 24, at 10 a.m. in the Student Union atrium.

  • personnel appointments:

    • Gerald Lighty, Faculty, Ag/Engineering Science Technologies

    • Carrie Harris, Program Manager, Community Education

    • Josh Houston, Maintenance Tech/Electrician, Physical Plant

    • Jenna Hooker, Police Officer, Public Safety