News and Tribune

January 30, 2014

Health insurance could hurt Ivy Tech

College president wants full-time employment to remain at 40 hours

By JEROD CLAPP
jerod.clapp@newsandtribune.com

SELLERSBURG — The president of Ivy Tech Community College told the state House of Representatives that part-time faculty could suffer from provisions of the Affordable Care Act.

The definition of full-time employment as working 30 hours a week could cost the college system from $10 million to $12 million, Thomas Snyder said in his testimony to the House Ways and Means Committee on Tuesday, which would hurt students as well.

“One of our keys to this success is our adjunct faculty team of more than 4,500,” Snyder said. “Most are practitioners in their field working full-time in another job, bringing their real-life, real-time experiences to the classroom.”

He said even accepting the penalty for not offering insurance to employees who work 30 hours a week or more is an option that’s too expensive for them.

At Ivy Tech’s Sellersburg campus, 265 adjuncts teach classes to the school’s 5,262 students. Rita Shourds, chancellor, said the impact for them is also very real.

“Like many employers in our community, we’re developing plans in anticipation of changes required by the Healthcare Reform Act,” Shourds said. “With respect to adjunct faculty, the challenge is building up our adjunct faculty ranks to ensure we have enough quality instructors for every course we offer. That has been our focus for the past year and will remain a priority moving forward.”

Snyder said the community college system is an important driver for making more people employable in the state as   Gov. Mike Pence, has worked to ramp up efforts to get more Hoosiers in jobs.

Snyder said the Affordable Care Act could force the college system to re-evaluate teaching hours for part-time faculty, resulting in fewer classes and causing the college to turn away some students.

He said keeping the definition of full-time employment at 40 hours would make it easier to keep offering classes for students, but also help Ivy Tech make them job-ready.