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Local

Kish College fees, tuition to jump 10.6 percent

College board says increase needed to make up for decline in state support

Kishwaukee College board of trustees Chairman Bob Johnson, seen here during a 2015 meeting,  said the college had been "backed into a corner" by the state budget impasse and the increase in tuition and fees is the result.
Kishwaukee College board of trustees Chairman Bob Johnson, seen here during a 2015 meeting, said the college had been "backed into a corner" by the state budget impasse and the increase in tuition and fees is the result.

MALTA – Kishwaukee College will be raising tuition and fees by $15 a credit hour next school year, an increase of about 10.6 percent.

The college’s board of trustees voted Tuesday to approve a $10-a-credit-hour tuition increase along with increasing the student technology fee by $5 a credit hour.

For the 2017-18 academic year, in-district tuition and fees will be $156 a credit hour, compared with $141 this year. The technology fee also will increase from $6 to $11 a credit hour, while the $30 online course fee will be eliminated.

For a full-time student taking 12 credit hours, the increase means they will pay $180 more a semester, for a total of $1,872 in tuition and fees compared with $1,692 this year.

The $30 online course fee pays for software used for online learning, but those costs will be offset by the $5 technology fee increase, as the software funded by the fee is used in most courses, according to a news release from the college.

Board of trustees Chairman Bob Johnson said the college had been “backed into a corner” by the state budget impasse, and it already is collecting the maximum level of revenue from property taxes.

“It’s never the right time to increase tuition,” he said. “But the state of Illinois has decided in its infinite lack of wisdom that higher education is not a priority.”

Johnson said people have been laid off and expenses cut wherever possible, and the college would have to cut course offerings without the increase in tuition.

“Our choice would be to greatly reduce the services we offer, or to ask students to pay somewhat more than they paid last semester,” he said.

President Laurie Borowicz said in a statement that the college must plan to cover most of its operational expenses without state revenue.

“If we receive state funds, they would be used to pay for deferred capital maintenance and other infrastructure improvements that will not otherwise happen,” she said.

The tuition and fee increase comes at a time when the college is faced with declining enrollment.

Overall enrollment is down about 6.7 percent this semester compared with the previous spring semester, with 3,130 students enrolled this spring, records show. Students are collectively signed up for 29,226 credit hours.

Johnson said enrollment trends were a factor in the board’s decision.

Despite struggles such as a poor state economy and fewer high school graduates, the college has been making an effort to reach more in-district students, he said.

“We are optimistic that we can hold the enrollment where it’s been,” Johnson said.

The Kishwaukee College Foundation, which awards $250,000 to students annually, is preparing to increase scholarship assistance to district students, according to the release.

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