Wenatchee Valley College ups tuition, reluctantly
Thursday, June 21, 2012
WENATCHEE — Students at Wenatchee Valley College will pay an average of 12 percent more in tuition next year after the college board voted “reluctantly” to adopt the state’s mandated tuition increases on Wednesday.
That means a student taking 15 credits will pay $4,000 in tuition for the 2012-2013 school year, compared to $3,542 tuition that students paid for the year that ends after the summer quarter.
“We did it with much reluctance,” said Wenatchee Valley College Board Chairwoman Darlene Wilder. “It’s a state mandate that we increase tuition, and if we don’t, we’re in violation of the law,” she said.
It’s the second 12 percent tuition hike in two years. College president Jim Richardson said Wenatchee Valley College students were paying about $3,000 in tuition in the 2010-2011 school year.
In its 2011-2013 budget, the state Legislature authorized an average 12 percent increase in tuition for state community colleges last year, and again this year in order to fill a $110 million cut to the college systems. The State Board for Community and Technical Colleges voted in May to impose that tuition increase.
This year, the Wenatchee Valley College board balked at the jump, and asked staff to investigate if there was any way not to impose it. Finding there were no other options, the board of trustees adopted the increase, Wilder said.
She said at a time when the cost of living is going up by four or five percent, two 12 percent tuition hikes is a huge burden on students.
The board plans to host community meetings and ask the public to help them come up with ways to help students who are having trouble with tuition. Possibilities include more scholarships, or programs where employers help pay for a student’s education.
“And, we’re starting preliminary strategies to work with the legislature to see why that continues to be their mandate,” she said of the increases. “I guess we have to be a little more politically active.”
Richardson said there was a lot of discussion at the board meeting Wednesday about how to help students handle the jump. He said meetings will be held around the district to get feedback from the community. He plans to attend those meetings, along with one or two board members.
In addition to the tuition hike, the board adopted next year’s budget. “Even though the tuition increase is going to hurt our students, our operating budget is sound for another year,” he said. “Hopefully, the cuts don’t continue.”
K.C. Mehaffey: 997-2512
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