Central Oregon Community College has undergone a huge boom, including the approval of a $41.5 million dollar bond measure to add and overhaul buildings on the campus needed to address record 85 percent increases in enrollment.
COCC is proposing a $4-per-credit-hour tuition increase for each of the coming three years, to add staff and keep up with other needs.
If approved, the in-district tuition for next year will rise to $70 per credit hour, out of district tuition would rise to $96 dollars an hour, and out of state tuition would rise to $195 dollars an hour.
Some students, like Mehwish Iqbal, who will be attending COCC next year may be able to weather the storm through the use of financial aid.
“If I get financial help like scholarships, then maybe I can,” Iqbal said. “Because I’m living with my parents and I only can have money to get fuel for my car.”
Iqbal, who currently lives in Madras and does not work, must make an hour drive to Bend to attend her classes. However, given her expenses she still thinks the tuition raise could serve to be useful for the college.
“We do need more teachers, because more students are studying and we all need help,” Iqbal added.
She also said that thanks to the proposed tuition increase, there should also be an increase to the amount of financial aid given to students.
“If we have to pay more, then they should make financial aid help more as well. In that way, students won’t have more effect on their lives.”
Heather Madden, Event Planner for Associated Students of Central Oregon Community College, proposed a different idea that may have the same effect.
“In order to alleviate the strain on the students from the increase in tuition, foundation scholarships could be increased to subsidize the increase in tuition” Madden said.
Though Heather will be graduating next term and won’t feel the effects of a tuition increase, she agrees with it. “I know of a couple of part time teachers that are really hurting because they are working close to full time but don’t receive the increased pay,”
Madden noted that this increase could result in more classes being offered to the amount of students coming into the school.
Gordon Price, Director of Student Life, also echoed the sentiment that this tuition raise could be good for the college, noting that even with the proposed tuition raise COCC is still one of the cheapest colleges in the state.
“The board is very adverse to any kind of tuition raises or fee raises. Last year was the first time in three or four years that COCC has raised tuition.” Price said.
He also added that the ASCOCC has proposed to help by donating proceeds from events that they hold in order to increase foundation scholarships, though no concrete decisions have been made just yet.
So although some students could feel the crunch if this tuition raise is approved, it is clear that the general sentiment is that this is a price worth paying to see COCC grow and improve.
You may contact Will James at firstname.lastname@example.org