Few students notice rise in tuition

The change to charging tuition by contact hours affected fewer students than originally estimated, while bringing in the expected amount of revenue.

College officials estimated the change’s impact on students before the decision was made in June. The actual results have been collected for the fall and were not far off from what was expected.

The newest data shows that fewer students saw a rise in tuition than were expected.
It also shows that more students fell into the “high impact zone” — students heavily affected by the change.  And the highest tuition increase was $1,742, as opposed to the estimated $1,500.

At the Board of Trustees meeting on Oct. 26, board members discussed the results of the change to contact hours.  When board Chairman William Bacarella asked if anyone had questions, board member Linda Lauer said:

“You know I do.”

Lauer was the only board member to oppose the switch to billable contact hours.  She voted against the change when the board proposed it.

“We should consider putting a ceiling on contact hours or using a ratio to keep the prices reasonable for students,” she said.  “It’s just something to think about.”

Students who could not handle the change financially this fall were told to contact financial aid for assistance.

“Twelve students came to the Financial Aid office with hardship cases, and they were able to be helped,” college President David Nixon said.

Nixon also said that so far, the results of the change to billable contact hours have been on target with what was planned.

There was a potential shortfall in the budget for this year of $600,000, Nixon said.  Because of contact hours, revenue from tuition increased more than $300,000 for the Fall semester.

 “If we have similar revenue in January, we will reach our target,” he said.

Although college officials were worried about MCCC’s budget for this year due to uncertainties with state funding and the change to contact hours, the budget seems to be on track.

Despite Michigan’s budget crisis, there were no cuts to funding for community colleges.

“State appropriation is the same as last year. The only difference is that we didn’t receive our first payment for October yet; otherwise, we are pretty much on target with the budget,” Controller Daniel Schwab said.

At the board meeting, MCCC’s finances were brought up several times.
“There were no cuts from the state, which is great,” Board Secretary Mary Kay Thayer said.

The board members expressed concern about the future of  Michigan’s economy.

“If you think it’s bad now, it’s only going to get worse,” Thayer said.