Area community college students could pay as much as $100 more for annual tuition if Ohio lawmakers agree with the proposed cap on how much the schools can raise instructional and general fees.
Sinclair Community College approved a $100 hike on annual tuition for Ohio residents on Tuesday and Clark State Community College is considering a $97.50 increase. However, some lawmakers are expected to argue that tuition costs should be frozen when they debate the state budget through June. And the Ohio Association of Community Colleges has also said that schools need the flexibility to increase tuition as much as $200.
Sinclair’s tuition increase is effective for summer term. By credit hour, the increase is $3.33, bringing the cost to $95.70 for Montgomery County residents, who pay property tax levy to support Sinclair, and $142.40 for other Ohio residents. Per-credit-hour tuition would increase $8 for out-of-state and international students, which raises the cost to $274.40. Tuition for Montgomery County residents will continue to be the lowest in the state.
“This doesn’t change our continuing commitment to low tuition,” said Trustee Robert Connelly, who explained that Sinclair must balance tuition charges with its need to provide quality programs that are relevant. “It is still something that is very important to us that we continue to have very low tuition that provides the greatest access.”
The tuition increases are expected to raise an additional $1.4 million in revenue over a year, which Sinclair says it needs because funding from the state and levy are uncertain. State funding fell $7 million from fiscal year 2011 to 2012, and revenue from the levy is down $5 million and expected to decline another $1 million.
The Ohio Association of Community Colleges is asking that the state increase funding for community colleges 5 percent in both years of state budgetbecause the challenges the schools face in “dramatically increasing the numbers of Ohioans with college degrees and other industry-recognized credentials — a mission that is absolutely vital to Ohio’s continuing efforts to attract and retain jobs — are both enormous and costly.”
Clark State is scheduled to vote March 19 on increasing tuition $3.25 per credit hour, which equates to $97.50 annually. Tuition per credit hour would be $118 per credit hour, according to the college.