MALTA – Kishwaukee College is implementing one of its largest tuition increases in school history for the 2013-14 school year.
The Kishwaukee College Board of Trustees voted last week to increase tuition by $12 a credit hour, bringing the cost per credit hour into triple digits at $101.
The new tuition price will start in the summer semester, one year after Kishwaukee College was one of only two community colleges in Illinois to freeze tuition rates last year.
President Tom Choice said the increase was necessary to combat cuts in state funding, declining property tax revenue and late payments from the state. Illinois is behind on payments to the college by more than $2 million this school year.
He said he realizes the increase is a blow to students and, in hindsight, would rather have seen the increase implemented in $6 increments instead of holding rates last year.
“I hope students remember we were able to freeze rates last year, but I know they’ll remember a $12 credit hour increase,” Choice said. “It’s never an easy decision.”
Nursing students will be hit harder than most because the college will phase in a variable tuition rate of $101 in addition to the standard tuition rate for the associate degree nursing program.
That means starting in the 2013-14 school year, first-year nursing students will pay $202 a credit hour and all nursing students will pay that rate in 2014-15. Choice said the nursing program is the most expensive to operate, but the new rate does not change that it is one of the most affordable programs in the state.
“It’s still a very competitive price,” Choice said.
The college is also making cuts.
Cuts for next year include a reduction in departmental travel by 27 percent; no participation in staff exchange programs; reduction in capital requests by more than 80 percent; and leaving some vacant positions unfilled.
With the state expected to slash funding by more than $1 million for the college, Choice said more cuts and tuition increases are likely in the future.
Choice said the college still can be one of the most affordable in the state. It was in the lowest third in tuition and fee rates last year, coming in below the state average of $107 a credit hour.
“I’ve already told our campus several times we are going to have to cut our expenses again, and I think we’re going to have to increase tuition in the coming years as well,” he said. “I hope we can keep it to single digits because we need to maintain our affordability.”