The Central Oregon Community College Board of Directors is looking at increasing the in-state tuition rate for the 2012-13 school year, according to Ron Paradis, COCC’s public relations director.
“No decision has been made at this time [about a specific amount],” said Paradis. “President Middleton has noted that we are looking at a proposal to raise tuition somewhere around $6 to $8 per credit.”
The potential tuition hike is in response to declining property revenue taxes and a drop in state funding.
“In order to continue to increase offerings to students (hiring more faculty, staff and adding needed technology) and continue to operate, tuition and fees are the only of our three major funding sources under our control,” said Paradis. “State money and local property tax income are expected to be down or flat and we cannot control those amounts.”
State funding has dropped from its peak of $500 million in 2007 to its current level of $395 million. With this loss, community colleges must seek other sources of revenue.
Despite the potential increases, COCC would remain below state averages and would still be one of the least expensive community colleges in Oregon.
“COCC’s overall tuition and fees are the lowest of the 17 community colleges in Oregon,” said Paradis.
Currently, in-state students pay $76 a unit at COCC. Students coming from outside the district and outside Oregon will likely see a seven to ten percent increase, according to an article in The Bulletin.
Tuition rates stayed the same from fall 2006 until spring 2009, but since then, the COCC Board of Directors has voted to increase fees each year. A tuition hike this spring would represent a fourth consecutive tuition increase, according the article in The Bulletin.
Wesley Bryant, an emergency medical service major at COCC, is distressed by the potential tuition increase.
“I think it’s the lamest thing to do,” said Bryant. “The economy is already screwed up so why would you increase tuition?”
A proposal for the increase will likely go the Board of Directors at their March meeting, which will then be voted on during their April meeting, according to Paradis.