MCC votes to boost tuition

CRYSTAL LAKE – McHenry County College trustees approved a 3 percent tuition hike for students attending the community college next year.

Trustees voted, 7-1, on Thursday to raise tuition by $3 per credit hour, bringing the per credit hour cost to $102. That means a student taking 12 credit hours would pay $36 more next year.

Trustee Ron Parrish voted against the increase.

“I was a teacher here once. I know the students in these classrooms,” Parrish said. “I know that $50 is somebody’s money for beer, and some other student’s groceries for the week.”

College officials have predicted revenue decreases as the reason for the hike. The college is bracing for decreased funding from the state, facing property tax limits and saving money for future maintenance.

However, the college has said it expects its tuition revenues this year to be slightly higher than projected.

“While we budgeted conservatively with a flat tuition continuation for fiscal 2013, our enrollment has risen in both fall and spring semesters, causing overall revenue to slightly increase,” the college’s Chief Financial Officer Bob Tenuta wrote in a guest column in the Northwest Herald.

Still, a forecast of the 2014 budget is predicting a $1.4 million “gap” between revenues and expenditures. The tuition hike is estimated to bring in an additional $365,653, on an estimated flat rate of 121,884 credit hours. The difference will be made up from the college’s fund balance and other cost-cutting measures, officials have said.

“This is not a large amount of money to us, but it is to the people who have to pay it,” Parrish said.

Some MCC students were against a tuition increase, including student trustee Paola Rueda, who also rejected the hike.

“I’ll probably take less classes at a time,” 22-year-old student Megan Maldonado said. “I can’t afford it as is, but I need to better my education.”

The college last raised tuition by 9 percent in 2011 when the cost went to its current $99 per credit hour.

MCC is still behind other community colleges in the state, where the average cost per credit hour is $107.89, according to the Illinois Community College Board.

Before the vote, trustees spoke at length about scholarship opportunities on campus and encouraged cash-strapped students to visit the Foundation Office for that information.

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