By Rob Alway. Editor-in-Chief.
VICTORY TWP., Mason County — West Shore Community College will raise its tuition beginning the fall semester. The increase, approved this afternoon by the college board of trustees, will increase in-district tuition from $83 per credit hour for in-district students to $86 per credit hour, a 3.6% increase. This is slightly above the average increase of 3.5% over the past 10 years.
Of the smallest 10 community colleges in Michigan, WSCC remains the lowest in tuition, however.
“As we look forward to next year, the operating revenue outlook from sources other than tuition is not great,” Dr. Charles Dillon, WSCC president, wrote in a memo to the board. “Local property tax revenue, which accounts for about one half of our total operating revenue will likely stay level or increase ever so slightly. Any increase in state funding will be small. Additionally, with the likelihood of little or no enrollment growth, tuition revenue, even with this increase, will stay relatively flat. Yet, we cannot turn our backs on our students; we cannot abandon our commitment to affordability.
“It is also important to note that many of our students are eligible for federal financial aid. Also we continue to increase our awards of local financial aid, through scholarships, funded by local organizations and through the funds raised by our WSCC Foundation (the endowment fund is now at $5.5 million in cash, pledges and other assets).”
“We do have a responsibility… that we didn’t want to put the burden of financing education on the back of our students,” board member Bruce Smith said at today’s board meeting. Smith said comparing tuition at West Shore to the state’s major universities makes West Shore’s price a bargain. Grand Valley State University’s rate, for example is $435 per credit hour.
WSCC’s new out-of-district is $160 and out-of-state is $210, a 3.2% increase.