Tuition to increase 12 percent this fall

The State Board of Community and Technical Colleges (SBCTC) decided at their June 8 meeting to increase tuition by 12 percent for the 2012 to 2013 fiscal year.

The increase becomes effective at South Puget Sound Community College fall quarter.

The increase is an average percentage, with different rates for part time and full time students. According to Vice President of Administrative Services Nancy McKinney, old policy allowed students to not pay for credits above 11 credits up to 18 credits.

The purpose of the policy was to promote completing a degree or other program as quickly as possible.

“They realized that was creating an inequity for students going to school part time,” said McKinney, “So the state board has been working over the last five years, and it will probably take another five to six years to equalize it.”

Tuition rates for 11 credits and below are set to increase less than rates for credits beyond 11 said McKinney.

According to student Makara Sum, an increase in tuition will definitely make paying for school more challenging.

“It makes it difficult, but I mean everything is going up,” said student Sara Holman, “What are you going to do about it?”

According to McKinney, the board chose to implement the full increase to raise revenue in place of requiring cuts to programs and services.

“Hopefully [students] will see a direct benefit from that tuition increase,” she said.

“Our enrollment really is cyclical,” she said. “As our enrollments go down because people go back to work, and we’re starting to see that trend, we’ll see more part-time students.”

According to McKinney, the college maintains about an 80 percent collection rate, or tuition collected after waivers, such as adult basic education waivers. She said this is a higher rate than several other schools in the system. She said it allows the college to keep most programs and services intact.

“Now that tuition is close to 50 percent of our budget and you have a change in how you’re collecting it, that can then have a bigger effect on course schedules, and services, and everything else,” said McKinney.

The college’s budget consists of tuition, state funding, and contracts.

“We’re in a really quiet phase right now,” said McKinney. “Right now, behind the scenes, we’re quietly putting one budget to rest…and beginning a new year.”

McKinney said all predictions on the state budget next year look hopeful. “I don’t anticipate having to do any mid-year cuts,” she said.

The Economic and Revenue Forecast Council will release Washington’s quarterly economic forecast this fall.