Tuition hike: $600,000 to support student services

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Next year, your tuition will increase by 4.6
percent. On April 8, the Central Oregon Community
College board of directors unanimously
voted to increase tuition for the 2015-16 academic
year.
The decision to increase comes after COCC
went two years without seeing an increase in
tuition and fees. The proposed increase from
$87 per credit hour to $91 is expected to raise
around $600,000 in new tuition dollars, which,
according to Dean of Students Alicia Moore,
will be used to keep up the current level of service
to students and the current level of instruction.
In prior years, COCC was able to keep tuition
at the same level due in part to a monetary
grant the college received from the state of Oregon.
However, this grant will not be available
for the upcoming 2015-16 school year, which
prompted school officials to make decisions
that would ultimately benefit faculty, administration
and students alike, according to Moore.
“It really is an incremental increase,” said
Moore. “It’s about $40 a quarter so that’s pretty
small in the grand scheme of things.”

Even with the increase, COCC will
remain at the third most affordable
college option in comparison to other
larger universities and other community
colleges in Oregon, according to
Moore.
The revenue that will come from the
increase – aside from helping the college
cover normal, everyday expenses
– is expected to help fund many of the
on-going adult-learner programs that
were brought forth by the newly created
internal budgetary process.
“[The internal budgetary process]
reviewed all the requests from across
the college and prioritizes those request
to the president and then the president
approves where those budget expenses
go,” Moore explained, “
A substantial amount of the new
budget dollars will go toward programs
that help the English language learning
program and programs assisting students
who have a low skill set obtain
adult basic skills and gainful employment,
according to Moore.
Concerns over a tuition
increase
Increasing tuition gradually over a
larger period of time is generally better
than having one large increase in 20
years, according to Moore.
In discussing increasing tuition
rates, the board also considered if the
decision could deter prospective students
from enrolling. According to Ron
Paradis, COCC director of college relations,
this will not be the case.
“History has not given us any indication
that the level of tuition would
have an impact on enrollment,” Paradis
said. “We can’t prove that it doesn’t
have any impact. But we certainly see
that some of the larger tuition increases
were the times where our enrollment
was going up the most.”
Paradis points out that in order for
COCC to keep offering the same high
quality standard of instruction, tuition
has to go up to enable the school to hire
more staff.
“[As is the trend] when enrollment
is down, we get less money and so we
also need fewer part-time faculty. We
look at a number of things and decide
what it is we want to do to provide the
quality of education,” said Paradis.
“One of them is what percent of the
courses are taught by full-time faculty
versus part-time faculty.”
Both Moore and Paradis said the
tuition increase was not at all related
to expenses accumulated through two
presidential searches and the Vice
President of Instruction leaving while
continuing to be paid.
“These aren’t factors that influenced
the decision to increase tuition,” said
Moore. “In terms of the Vice President
of instruction leaving or the second
presidential search that amounted to
nothing, we have a budget of more than
$40 million to work with and those two
elements combined are about a point
zero percent in expenditures of the entire
budget.”

Brayan Gonzalez | The Broadside

(contact: bgonzalez@cocc.edu)

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