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Blog Ancient Writing District approves $2 tuition increase

District approves $2 tuition increase

News article written for The Voice (April 1995)
Created: April 10, 1995

By Alan T. Miller | The Voice | Volume 30, Issue 14

Budget in. Opposition out. Meeting adjourned. Tuition up.

In response to the lack of anticipated support from the state legislature, MCCCD officials voted to raise tuition fees.

The increase will bring tuition up to $34 per credit hour from its current cost of $32 per credit hour, 50 cents of the $2 dollar increase will go for student activities funds.

Although the board members say they regret having to raise tuition, they argued it was necessary to finance MCCCD's increased expenditures which include a buildup of reserves to cover unforeseen expenditures of the $386 million capital development plan voters approved last November.

With the exception of board member Nancy Stein the issue past unanimously.

However, Unlike previous tuition proposals, where students rallied around to plead their case, this one was met with little opposition from students as well.

Only one student addressed the board in opposition to the $2 per hour tuition increase. Former Voice editor and columnist, Mike Stevens, who quoted Chancellor Paul Elsner's own words from 1979.

"'Tuition is opposed to the concept of open access education'" Stevens said.

Stevens told the board that tuition was growing too expensive for many students who, instead of attending college, were giving up on higher education. He asked the board to rethink the hike.

"I understand the district has a policy of paying their employees well. This is noble. I also understand that the district has a policy of having the best technology possible. This is also noble. However, these policies must be changed or reviewed because they are far too costly. Not just in terms of dollars and cents, but in terms of the students we are losing."

After the meeting, board member Linda Rosenthall addressed the issue.

"I don't like to raise tuition but I am also trying to serve my entire county with this college district. We have colleges that do not have sufficient full time faculty, they are surviving on just part timers. There are part-time people who are working many more hours than we want them to work- for nothing- because they want to serve the students. Campuses need full-time perks to do the job right, other campuses have about what they need... our faculty and staff is entitled to a raise among all the other needs," said Rosenthall.

"Lets remember something, education is expensive, it will never be cheap because it's value is in proportion often to its cost. If it is to pay off in the long run, we have to make some sacrifice to do it."

That sacrifice comes in what Rosenthall described as nothing more than a "couple of trips to McDonalds or a CD."

Larry Christensen, President of Mesa Community College, likewise, feels a tuition increase is an unfortunate necessary evil, and claimed this one was modest to say the least.

"In addition to the tuition revenue, we will see, in my view, probably a million in cuts district wide to be able to make budget," said Christansen.

According to Rosenthall until the state legislature changes the way in which they view how education should be funded, and how they interpret the State constitution, we may never get away from raising tuition in the future.

"The constitution says that higher education should be as free as possible and we can't help it that the legislature is not following the constitution. Many of the legislators say that a third of the cost of education should come from the students, a third from the county and a third from the state. The state is giving us about 15 percent, the county is giving us about 60 percent and the students are making up the difference."

This lack of support according to Rosenthall is the driving force that places tuition at where it is today.

"We have needs that need to be met, there is no question that tuition that is the balancing act. We have restrictions in the amount of money that we can tax and spend, the amount is fixed," said Rosenthall.

"I think we are trying to do the very best we can, and for that reason tonight we raised tuition 2 dollars a credit hour, it will impact some students negatively, others will be impacted positively because they will see the benefit of that raise."


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